Successful Waikato-based business incubator SODA Inc. has launched a Regional Partner Initiative, which further expands its incubation model.

Successful Waikato-based business incubator SODA Inc. has launched a Regional Partner Initiative, which further expands its incubation model.

“As founders with good ideas and business growth advisors with the right experience can be found anywhere, our programmes can be run remotely,” says SODA Operations Manager Rachel Adams. “This means our clients can be based anywhere in New Zealand and our advisors can be based anywhere in the world.”

This flexibility in the delivery of the SODA programme presented an opportunity for the incubator to create a partnership with regional business hubs who will join forces to provide support for startup projects in their area. Initial partners are in the Bay of Plenty, Hawkes Bay, and Gisborne.

“SODA has always worked with clients based all across New Zealand,” says Adams. “But by partnering with regional hubs who know their regions better than anyone else means we can make more of an impact – especially in regions that don’t yet receive central government funding for incubation services.”

Adams emphasises that the Regional Partner Initiative is not intended to take over what is already happening in the local startup ecosystems: “We aim for SODA’s programmes to be another option on the menu, complementing the support that is already offered.”

The Soda team
The SODA team

Response from business hubs in the region is enthusiastic. Jo Allum, co-founder of Tauranga’s Venture Centre: “We’re pleased to partner with SODA to make the Lift and Boost founder-focused incubation programmes available to entrepreneurs across the Bay of Plenty,” she says. “It’s an exciting time and a great next step in the evolution of both organisations.”

Business Hawke’s Bay acting CEO, Carolyn Neville, also welcomes the new initiative and believes that the region’s startup entrepreneurs will significantly benefit from the new partnership with SODA.

A key action in Matariki, the Hawke’s Bay Regional Economic Development Strategy, has been identified as establishing an incubator programme for the region, delivered through the Hawke’s Bay Business Hub.

“We’re excited to have the opportunity to partner with Soda, who have a proven programme for founders and access to world class advisors,” says Ms Neville. “This is a valuable addition to the other support that is available and will enable qualifying founders with startups to build their capability and grow their companies.”

The next step for our regional partners is to find the right founders who would benefit from such a programme and get them started.

The Government recently announced that SODA has secured funding for a further two years from Callaghan Innovation. This will allow it to run up to 32 customised programmes over the next two years for high-quality startups in need throughout the country.

SODA Inc. works with founders from all industry sectors, as good ideas and opportunities can be found anywhere. SODA also runs a vibrant co-working space with over 30 commercial client companies housing over 80 people in Wintec House in the centre of Hamilton. Founders located in the Waikato can access these services as a benefit while in an incubation programme.

For more information, contact:

Rachel Adams, Operations Manager, SODA Inc.
021 243 2631

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