E-commerce giant Shopify is partnering with New Zealand social enterprise Te Whare Hukahuka to introduce its products and services into the global market.
Shopify lead for Indigenous Entrepreneurs Jace Meyer said their research shows that New Zealand and Pacific commerce is still largely unknown to the rest of the world and their aim is to bring these talents into the global spotlight.
The Canadian e-commerce company, with a total revenue of $1.57 billion in 2019 and which houses online stores built by more than a million businesses in 175 countries, will help Te Whare Hukahuka by investing in expanding its program internationally.
Te Whare Hukahuka trains Indigenous entrepreneurs to start, grow, market and manage online retail businesses.
The new partnership will allow the Māori enterprise to roll out its flagship e-commerce and digital marketing program Ka Hao i te Ao to other Indigenous nations.
As part of this drive, Shopify recently appointed Rotorua entrepreneur Inez White, of Te Arawa, as Global Indigenous ambassador. Her role will be to support Māori and Pasifika businesses to develop successful e-commerce platforms.
“We’re working to make entrepreneurship accessible to everyone,” said Shopify CEO Travis O’Keefe. “Anyone anywhere can become an entrepreneur and build economic prosperity for their families and communities.”
O’Keefe said the three-month programme – delivered 99 per cent online – is designed to enable more Indigenous businesses around the world to launch online, sell more and do it more efficiently.
“Our programme steers indigenous business owners toward growing their household income by at least $200 a week, an amount that can have a life-changing multiplier effect on health and mental, social, economic and educational wellbeing.”
As part of its social mission to “improve the lives of 10 million indigenous people”, Te Whare Hukahuka has worked with Te Puni Kōkiri and Shopify to offer 55 scholarships worth $412,500 for the next course, starting mid-year, with at least two further intakes this year. New Zealand Trade and Enterprise will contribute up to $5,000 to additional scholarship programmes with iwi and Māori businesses.