Lower Hutt business incubator returns to boost new start ups

Monday 9 May 2022, 11:21AM

By Hutt City Council



Applications are now open for a business incubator programme giving local entrepreneurs a step up to make it in the business world.

Hutt City Council is offering placements for businesses in The Settlement Start Ups incubator programme that provides wrap around support to emerging businesses.

"The goal is for these businesses to turn into thriving, sustainable and ultimately successful organisations," says Kara Puketapu-Dentice, Hutt City Council’s Director of Economy and Development.

"The incubator is another way we’re fostering an innovative, agile economy and attractive city by supporting a community of like-minded entrepeneurs and supercharging their journey."

The Settlement co-founder and programme leader Meredith Walshe says companies in their first years of operation may not know how to go about getting support they need to grow.

"Start up businesses are great people with great ideas - we provide a programme where we provide support with mentoring, helping them focus on what is important, we deliver workshops on marketing, intellectual property law, finance, people and culture and much more, arming them with all they need to be a thriving and sustainable business," says Meredith Walshe.

"The Settlement eco system of both established businesses and start up incubator alumni in our Jackson Street Petone space provides a brilliant environment. Starts ups are surrounded by like minded entrepreneurs and innovative thinkers!"

When André Heller from Flexi.House won a place in The Settlement’s Start Up incubator, he had a vision for a new type of home, that did more than tick all the boxes for sustainability, but was built so it could easily add bedrooms as the homeowner’s needs changed.

His first Flexi.House is designed as a staged building approach. Panels are being made in Gracefield before being shipped to Cromwell for assembly taking only weeks.

Andre says the incubator provided an ecosystem where we could thrive alongside other startups and turn an idea into a real business.

"The regular incubator meetings helped to keep our momentum up and hold us accountable to deliver on our objectives, plus it’s been a great place to collaborate and meet like-minded people," says Andre.

Recent incubator graduates alongside Flexi.House have also included bike-pack maker Aeroe exporting globally, conscious fashion label Lila by Liv, and the spirited BEVY wellbeing community for women. Startups will receive a free 6-month residency at The Settlement and will have access to coaches, advisors and mentors, as well as specialist workshops and inspirational speakers in the product, design, manufacturing or technology sectors.

Applications are now open at for the next intake starting in early June 2022.