Supporting New Zealand founders in their endeavours and in their lives
Hot on the heels of the government announcing a commitment of $372.8 million for Business Growth, New Zealand’s national coworking and collaboration operator BizDojo is rallying the private sector to support growth with their initiative Founders Central.
The initiative, which launches today out of BizDojo’s location in the heart of the innovation precinct GridAKL, comprises of an initial series of learning focussed experiments, designed to inform programs and activity that will be rolled out across New Zealand.
Co-founder of BizDojo, and one of the creators of Founders Central, Jonah Merchant says the strength of the project is in its founder-led basis, and focus on targeted solutions.
“Over the years we have been in the unique position of working hands-on growing our own business, while sitting side by side within a community of startups and entrepreneurs. We have seen gaps in the kind of support that is out there for founders and we are keen to do something about that, but we are not interested in shuffling the deck-chairs. We want Founders Central to be truly helpful to our founders community and complementary to the other great things happening now across the NZ ecosystem,” says Jonah.
“A big part of what we are doing in this starting phase is collecting data, experimenting with a solution, looking at the results and then iterating. We are applying a founder logic to the very solutions being crafted.”
Jonah and Co-Founder Nick Shewring decided to launch Founders Central after discussing the concept with BizDojo residents and other founders. The team surveyed the community on “issues relating to support for founders and entrepreneurs on their business journey.”
“We got some excellent feedback from the community. More than 37% of people wanted more appropriate resources, 20% of people called for increased openness and 12% found it confusing navigating the current landscape,” says Nick.
“Our vision is a New Zealand populated by empowered founders and supported by the innovation ecosystem. As New Zealand’s only national coworking provider, we see BizDojo playing a key role in achieving this. BizDojo is a place where founders come for support, guidance, connections and advice to help them and their businesses thrive.”
Founders Central is a rally cry for our vision of healthy, productive founders who are able to work through the stresses of entrepreneurship and creativity and come out the other side with both a successful business but also a successful life.
“We know the need is there, but we cannot do this alone, so we are calling on the ecosystem to help us. With time we can get programs running on our own dime, and we are committed to doing that – but a collaborative approach will mean faster deployment which will be better for everyone,” says Nick.
The current Founders Central initiatives includes education and mentoring around investment and business makeup with BizDojo investors-in-residence Greg Sitters and Ken Erskine, and a founder mental health and wellness project. BizDojo is also supporting ZeroPoint Ventures in its plan to help founders “build their business to the $1 million revenue mark within two years”.
ZeroPoint Ventures provides early-stage funding and coaching and early stage funding for ventures via a unique online business incubation model.
Dan Khan, founder of ZeroPoint Ventures, says BizDojo has been a massive supporter of early-stage entrepreneurs for many years and he is looking forward to working with BizDojo in this space.
“BizDojo has offered us venues and space for our ventures at their coworking spaces throughout the country, which is incredibly exciting for a distributed programme like ours. BizDojo have been massive supporters of the early-stage entrepreneurial ecosystem from the very early days of supporting StartupWeekend where I first met Nick and the team.”
Founders Central launches today and more announcements around the project will be made as new programs roll out.
“As a country we encourage people to become their own bosses, to take on new challenges and to change the world around them. Our wish for Founders Central is that it will help founders on their journey and ensure they achieve the vision they’ve set for themselves,” says Nick.
Enquiries of interest are open for involvement in the initiative at Founderscentral.com