Xero and Wellington-based BizDojo have announced the launch of a new mentoring programme to help entrepreneurs in early stage innovative companies accelerate their growth.
For BizDojo CEO Jonah Merchant there is a key need for a programme like StepUp “We see a huge need for New Zealand start-ups to have access to quality mentoring and support from experienced people that have faced the problems they are facing. For us at BizDojo it’s fantastic to see Xero, as one of the leading tech lights in NZ, stepping up to give back to the ecosystem.
StepUp will enable the amazing Xero story of growth and international success to be turned into learning opportunities for other businesses, resulting in increased opportunity for the ecosystem as a whole. We have seen first-hand the power of this kind of mentoring, and we are excited by the potential for this programme to effect real growth not only for BizDojo residents but the wider community.”
BizDojo has brought together 13 of their residents and six other Wellington entrepreneurs whose industries range from virtual reality and social enterprise to SaaS and 3-D printing services. They will meet with 19 Xero mentors to share their knowledge and experience to help them grow their business. Xero’s mentors come from a range of disciplines and expertise and are expected to help the entrepreneurs with a variety of business issues including building scalable products, developing product roadmaps, captivating overseas markets and establishing market strategy, managing and building teams and understanding SaaS metrics and modelling. As part of the StepUp programme, Xero will also lead roundtable sessions with guest speakers.
“We see this as a great opportunity to develop our leaders by sharing their experiences with the next generation of entrepreneurs,” said Rod Drury, Xero CEO. “Being able to positively impact our local communities is important to our teams and this a great opportunity to give back.”
“Entrepreneurs benefit greatly by tapping into people who are dealing with global issues in business and technology every day,” said Drury. “We’re excited to partner with BizDojo to offer up our own business leaders and their expertise to help entrepreneurs thrive. Together we will all grow and at the same time foster New Zealand’s next high-growth companies.”
At a launch event in BizDojo’s Wellington office, entrepreneurs heard one minute pitches from Xero’s experts followed by speed-match sessions to help them connect to the mentor that best suit their business needs. The mentoring sessions are free and will continue for up to 6 months.
Wellington virtual reality company 8i has enrolled 3 staff members in the programme. "It's incredibly valuable for companies like 8i to tap into expertise from Xero mentors, be it on scaling the business, operating in international markets or raising capital. StepUp is exactly what NZ needs to help companies succeed in the post seed phase of development," said Toni Moyes, Chief Operating Officer at 8i.
The StepUp Mentoring programme is supported by Collider, which is a series of events and activations designed to help Wellington’s digital, tech and creative industries grow and in turn, make Wellington a ‘Smart Capital’. Collider is developed and delivered by BizDojo with support from Wellington City Council.