Business Speed Dating – Tāiki e!

It’s normal to get nervous before a date, right? What about a business date? I’d signed myself up for Business Speed Dating, a business networking event hosted by Tāiki e! in collaboration with Gisborne Chamber of Commerce. I’d also committed to writing an article on it, so no backing out now. Sometimes you’ve just gotta put yourself out there.

The place is already pumping when I arrive at Tāiki e! Impact House in Treble Court on Thursday night. It’s not even the advertised start time of 6:30 pm yet. I thought the Gizzy thing was to arrive late? Everyone is chatting away and happy to include someone new in their conversation. Strangers approach me and introduce themselves. As a new face I am in demand! Oh cool, there’s wine! Beer. Juice. Pizza. These folks have thought of everything.

As someone who struggles to remember names, I’m grateful that people are wearing name tags. There’s one for me on the table too. I don’t have to muddle along by myself, everyone is really helpful. More gratitude when I see my name is spelt correctly.

It’s just as well Cain and Seda have a microphone to announce the start of the event and how the evening’s going to run. We’re getting pretty loud. Those of us with tags written in green go sit on one side. We have to stay put for the evening. The folks with the black name tags move around to the left. We have 5 minutes to find out a bit about each other. Get your business cards ready!

It’s all a bit of a whirlwind from there. In quick succession, I meet 10 locals, tell them why I’m there, and find out about them. Many have gained skills away from home that they want to share with Te Tairāwhiti. Have I said I was impressed yet? I’m impressed. There’s some innovative stuff happening in our quiet corner of Aotearoa.  I’ve never come across so many inspiring people who care about our community in one place before. Ever better, there’s plenty of crossover. Phil Kupenga hit the nail on the head, describing his goal to bring technology knowledge to the region. He said let’s be more future ready than shovel ready.

The event focus is on business networking in a fun and friendly environment. You can share your contact information and decide who you’d like to follow up with.  It’s a great way to boost professional networks, generate new business leads and find other skills and wisdom within the community. As they say,  It’s all about who you know.

The event is for anyone, budding or established entrepreneurs and anyone else interested in meeting new people and building their networks. The next one will be advertised on Taiki e’s Facebook page and you’ll need to register through Eventbrite.

Story & Photograph by Leah McAneney

VIBES & TRIBES – TĀIKI E! ONE YEAR IN

Next week the Impact House, Tāiki e turns one year old. In just one year, it’s fair to say that Renay Charteris, Cain Kerehoma and their ever-growing crew have achieved their goal of kickstarting an aroha economy here in the Tairāwhiti. Their aims around creating a collaborative space for social and environmental action have drawn in a hugely diverse group of people to the premises on the corner of Treble Court.

Amongst the people using and contributing towards the space are a mushroom farmer, a death doula, a tourism operator, innovators and an artist, people in data analytics, social media, tech, the youth space, Te Reo, podcasting and permaculture. Renay reckons they’ve become a UN of sorts too “We seem to be a bit of a landing pad for new people arriving in our community, who want to get involved but don’t know how”. She says that getting them involved in projects that benefit the region is the best way to introduce people to our community, allowing them to integrate into the fabric of the community through service and giving of their time, skills and selves.

Next week is Global Entrepreneurship Week, and the programme that the Tāiki e! crew have planned is a beautiful fit for the mahi they do, bringing together the key focus areas that have organically bubbled up amongst their members since they started one year ago. When it comes to entrepreneurship, Cain and Renay urge people to think about how business can be used as a tool to create impact and transformational change in our communities, so that it is about more than just making a profit.

So next week the hive of activity that is Tāiki e! kicks off with an Open Day for people who want to get a sense of what goes on there and how it rolls, a Side Hustle Market, Self Care & Well-Being in Business session and a Start Up Crawl through the CBD, talking to some local business owners about their start up stories. Stuffed Up Night aims to provide a space within which to talk about failure and Fishbowl is an event to talk Food and Food Security here in Te Tairāwhiti.

As Renay says ‘Your vibe attracts your tribe’ so if this vibe sounds like a bit of you, check out Tāiki e!’s schedule of events for next week, and meet your tribe!

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