Question :
Kia ora, I currently work in the early year’s space focusing on early childhood development and in particular have a passion for the acquisition of te reo Māori as foundational for Māori health and wellbeing. I have been researching a gap in the education landscape for the provision of quality bilingual and immersion EC options for whānau/family. Whānau are currently having to wait for available spaces to access local Kura Kaupapa Māori placements, drive long distances to access quality providers, or place their children in English medium.Home-based EC care is the fastest-growing section of the EC sector, constituting 65% of total growth in the market since 2007. Whilst the provision of home-based care offers more options, inconsistent quality is a major issue.  70% of providers have no formal teaching qualification, 22% have a lvl 3 qualification and only 7% of providers are fully trained.  The Minister for Ed, C. Hipkins, announced in 2019 a number of policy changes to regulate the home-based market.  The policy requires home-based providers to work toward a level 4 EC qualification & submit to ERO review.Without sufficient support to level up, many home-based providers will struggle to meet these requirements for ongoing funding.  Māori providing bilingual or immersion services will be most impacted as the equivalent qualification is the level 5 kōhanga reo qual.  Formal teacher training opportunities don’t cater well for home-based providers who don’t get relief time to study or can’t afford it.  My business idea is to create a hub called Kainga Tupu (HomeGrown), which aims to develop the Māori home-based EC care provider workforce and enable continuous improvement. The hub would support Māori providers to link to teacher training options through micro-credentialing so they can meet the policy requirement of working towards a level 5 qualification. The hub would also be a digital platform to access: peer-to-peer support; professional teaching supervision; subject matter knowledge around child development; experts in te reo and tikanga; assessment & audit support to meet ERO standards, etc.The long-game is to impact Māori health and wellbeing by growing quality te reo Māori learning environments for pēpi and tamariki Māori to have early access to their language, culture, and identity.  The toxic-stress on whānau Māori would reduce from having readily available options. The growth in Māori practitioners to provide te reo based EC options will meet the growing demand for te reo Māori language acquisition.  Digital badging supports workforce development to address the qualification gap. Digital servicing through the hub will mean that service quality is flexible and accessible; it also provides for business continuity in the current Covid climate. So what advice do I need from the gurus at Manaaki?  Well, if I was to develop an investment proposal around this idea, where would be the best place to take it? Should I try to attract philanthropic investment to support the initial development & test/evaluate it as a model for quality improvement over 2 years?  Are there government funding options for this type of initiative? Other funding streams? If the model works locally could it be scalable nationally & beyond?  Kia ora and thanks for your advice/assistance.

Question submitted 27/08/20 @ 10:10pm
Industry: Start-ups
  • Hi,

    This is a great post that quickly helps your helpers understand the context, the problem, your solution, and how we can help you. It also importantly it shows the time, dedication and passion you’ve already put into Kainga Tupu!

    There will be specific Government or regional development funds to solve similar problems (Education, MBIE, MSD, etc.), however the process, timing and effort required to gain these for early stage founders can be really exhausting. Bootstrapping, philanthropy, personal networks or Iwi funds could also be good options more suited to your own values, but it will take time and many conversations to find out which is right for you, then how to access them properly.

    However unless you’re already well on the way, there is still a lot you can do before you need to spend or launch (market research, customer discovery, design, testing, minimum viable products, pitches/comms, networking with founders, etc.). Doing these early steps right (and cheaply) will really help you learn quickly so when you build Kainga Tupu the early. Then when you’re ready to go wider you already have the foundations, examples and relationships that then help you gain the right investment.

    Did you have a plan already on how you were looking to do build Kainga Tupu? Are you supported by a good founder network locally?

    On your growth question… Starting locally really helps you get close to your customers and deeply understand their subtle needs and challenges as build whilse saving precious cash. If you want to grow however, design K.T. for a national or international market(s) and treat local as the first step towards the goal.

    Great work so far and looking forward to hearing more!


    Thanks Jusin,

    Great advice re prototyping something small and local, doing good market research, etc. I have good networks with potential collaborators with the right expertise that I would approach, but don’t have a founder group to trial and test something … much to do before approaching a funder. Developing a plan, but having more conversations to garner interest and connecting with local providers to learn more about their needs without investing $$ is a sound way to go. Will come back for further advice as things take shape.

    Thanks heaps Justin for taking the time to respond and provide me with a bit more of a road map for next actions.
    HomeGrown. 🙂

    In regards to the funding question, when you are ready to begin looking for investment/grants if you or your network have the bandwidth I would also consider looking offshore. There are significant global philanthropic and impact investment groups looking to support social enterprises aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals UN SDG’s In the case of Kainga Tupu SDG#4 “Quality Education” is at the heart of it’s mission, even more relevant given it’s focus on indigenous language and culture. Through simple desktop research i have little doubt you will identify many of these organisations.

    Wow! Awesome Jade, thanks so much for that sage advice and I wouldn’t have considered looking off-shore but the value of approaching international philanthropist orgs who are minded to support indigenous populations not only makes sense, it sounds like an excellent proposition … I will definitely be getting my head into that research space asap! This is such an awesome website … kia ora team Manaaki! The pearls of wisdom from Justin and Jade have been really valuable and I might have come across this advice somewhere sometime, but I doubt it. Having direct access to industry experts is so incredibly helpful. I’ll keep checking in and updating where I get to and ask more questions when I have them. I appreciate any and all advice, thanks again … on the move! Ngā mihi Jade, otirā koutou katoa!

    Happy to help out. Great to see Social Entrepreneurship in action. In my experience the two key factors in successfully applying for these offshore grants/investments. 1) Measurable impact (Ideally 3rd party accredited) 2) Strong governance processes and team. Very important that whilst you are small and local you are seen to operate with international best practices in mind. It’s all about building trust and impact, with those two fore-mentioned factors playing a key role in building that. Best of luck.

    Thanks for the further tips, Jade. Every little bit helps. The structure and set up, with strong governance & lines of accountability will be crucial. Defining the headline indicators to measure impact can be tricky but absolutely key. I so get you regarding the third party validation … perhaps partnering with a reputable developmental evaluator to work alongside us, keep things on track and transparent might give some extra assurance and develop that trust, so great idea. I have been looking into the offshore grant scene and get a bit of a picture that indigenous philanthropy is in its infancy; growing, but there’s a lingering perception that indigenous communities are lacking capability … for me, that’s even more incentive to do well! Kia ora anō Jade, thanks for the wonderful advice. HomeGrown. 🙂

    Morena – a couple thoughts:

    Akina are a community around impact – check out this initiative – https://www.akina.org.nz/iirp & maybe join a community of social shifters? https://socialshifters.co/social-shifters-signup/

    I also think that like others will tell you – ‘breaking into funding’ buckets is super hard, for nearly everyone, it is really about ‘finding the path’ and ‘learning how to pitch’ – short of being able to show the proof of what your concept, idea could be and a funder backing you – finding a way to ‘test, iterate, trial’ that gives people confidence e.g. a small trial might lead to more funding?

    I wish I could provide more input. Andy

    Kia ora Andy,

    Learning a heap from the input from the Manaaki team – thank you so much! I think finding the path is easier when you have access to people who have already done it and can signpost the way. The information about what is required to get to investment-ready on the ākina website was great information, so thanks for the link. Haven’t visited social-shifters but sure there’s more gold to be found! The great thing is there’s no reason to rush. When you’re looking to make a sustainable impact a good idea is not enough – you need to be strategic, do good research, and talk to lots and lots of insightful people like yourself. Every conversation is an opportunity to learn more and find that elusive path! Thank you Andy for the tips and realistic advice. Ngā mihi.

    Morena and our pleasure, you know that we are here to support and be a sounding board as you need, Andy

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