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Business Support

Business Waikato

The Waikato is home to hundreds of thriving businesses whose people enjoy the economic, social and lifestyle benefits our region has to offer.

There is a wide variety of business support options available in the Waikato, use this page to explore which option is best for your business.


Business Support Programmes

Soda Inc

Business Advisory Service

Soda Inc. is part of the Regional Business Partner network (RBP). Their Business Growth Advisors can connect you with business support services such as capability development funding and training, and research & development (R&D) services and grants via Callaghan Innovation.

If you are a business seeking advice and support to help you grow, find out more here. 

Business Mentors

Business Mentors

Access to support from New Zealand Business Mentors is available to Waikato businesses.

Mentees will have up to 12 months' access to a Business Mentor who will help you develop your business and yourself as a business owner. Apply to become a New Zealand Business Mentee or Mentor here. 

Digital Boost

Digital Boost Programme

The Digital Boost Programme is a free tool Kiwi businesses can use to future-proof their business with a wide range of information specifically for digital skill development.

A free set of resources and programmes are available to help you bring your business online with confidence.

Visit Digital Boost to discover the digital skills to boost your business.

Start Up Aotearoa

Startup Aotearoa

Created to support early-stage Kiwi founders, Startup Aotearoa provides personalised one-to-one coaching sessions. 

Regardless of business stage, industry, or location, Startup Aotearoa supports budding entrepreneurs to build their capabilities and turn their ideas into thriving startups.

Connect with a startup coach here.

Sustainability Tools

There is a wide variety of free online tools and services available to Waikato businesses to support action on climate and sustainability:

  • The Climate Action Toolbox offers practical guidance and business case studies to tackle climate change one step at a time.

  • Climate Connect Aotearoa brings together organisations, investors and innovators to solve climate solutions. Check out their ClimateLink tool here.

  • Cogo offers free business carbon accounting software for Xero and Kiwibank customers. The service automatically calculates a small business's carbon footprint based on your financial data and provides advice that is good for the climate and your bottom line.

  • EECA (Energy Efficiency & Conservation Authority NZ) provides a directory for climate co-funding and support options.

  • The EROAD Emissions Calculator is an AI-powered tool tailored for New Zealand fleets, providing users with an overview of their emissions profile and suggestions for emissions reduction, alongside potential savings.

  • The Sustainable Business Council offers a range of guides on a wide variety of climate topics for businesses.

  • The Sustainable Business Network offers online climate tools with a focus on small businesses.

Networks & Sector Support

Multiple business networks and sector support organisations are available to connect and assist businesses in the Waikato region. These include:

  • Creative Waikato is the regional arts organisation for the Waikato. They provide creative capability development for artists and arts organisations, advocacy, research and strategic direction and support for sustainable arts, culture and creativity in the region.

  • The Forestry Advisory Service provides advice to landowners who are interested in growing trees. They can help you determine the right tree, in the right place, for the right purpose, and can help you access specific support if you need it.

  • The On Farm Support service provides on-the-ground help for farmers and growers via a Waikato regional advisor.

  • Te Hūmeka Māori Business Network supports Waikato-based Māori businesses and provides platforms for them to network on a local, national, and international scale.

  • Waikato-Tainui’s Pakihi Support service is available for registered tribal members that are running a business, consultancy or have a side-hustle.

  • The Waikato Pacific Business Network works to grow more sustainable, more profitable, and well-connected Pacific owned businesses and professionals in the Waikato region.

  • The Waikato-Hauraki-Coromandel Rural Support Trust works with primary producers during challenging times, providing free one-on-one confidential support for farmers and growers.

Business Chambers & Associations

There are many business chambers and associations operating in the Waikato region. These membership organisations support and advocate on behalf of local businesses. Find your nearest business chamber or association here:

Employment Support

Ohu Humahi
Ohu Humahi Workforce Development Councils work together to create a greater voice in the vocational education system, improve education pathways, and ensure industry's future skills needs are met. Each WDC works with industry and employers to understand the skills that are needed. This information is passed to education and training providers, who are expected to create learning programmes that will give people relevant skills to address future workforce needs.
Skills Highway

Skills Highway provides funding and resources to support your employees’ literacy, numeracy and communication skills. Funded by the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC), Skills Highway initiatives include:

  • developing and promoting good practice strategies for introducing and maintaining literacy and numeracy programmes in the workplace
  • acknowledging employers who have successfully introduced workplace literacy and numeracy training through Skills Highway Awards
  • promoting the Workplace Literacy and Numeracy Fund to employers.
Smart Waikato

Smart Waikato partners with local businesses to deliver a range of practical and innovative initiatives that support rangatahi transitioning from education to employment:

  • Their award winning Secondary School Employer Partnership (SSEP) programme enables businesses to work with teachers to provide a ‘real world’ application of the curriculum and expose students to a wide range of career pathways.
  • Their Smart Transitions employment brokerage service supports employers to develop entry-level work opportunities and connect with young people who are keen to work and learn.
  • The FutureForce® Careers Hub enables employers to promote their entry-level job opportunities and showcase their company to young people in the Waikato.
The Young Enterprise Trust is a not-for-profit organisation established to promote an enterprise and financially literate culture among young people. Through participating in quality enterprise and financial education programmes, their goal is for youth to contribute towards transforming New Zealand's future economic and social prosperity.

Regional Tourism Organisations

A Regional Tourism Organisation (RTO) looks after destination marketing for your region, and is responsible for promoting your region to domestic and international tourists. Across the broader Waikato region we have three RTOs who work to identify opportunities for tourism promotion and highlight the benefits of spending time in the Waikato. Find your local RTO below:

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