Hannah Fitzgibbon Facilitation
Up and down the West Coast, in offices and warehouses, home offices and kitchen tables, small businesses are flourishing. Development West Coast runs a nine-week programme called Co.Starters to equip aspiring entrepreneurs so they can turn ideas into action. Many of the businesses do not have a traditional store front, so in this series of Open for Business, the Greymouth Star and Development West Coast sample some of the emerging small enterprises that are helping shape the future.
West Coast businesses wanting to invest in training previously had to call in expensive, out-of-region facilitators or send their staff off the Coast for training. This is no longer the case - thanks to Hannah Fitzgibbon Facilitation.
Co.Starters graduate Hannah delivers quality in-house workshops and coaching on the West Coast, enabling local business owners and their teams to thrive.
Originally from Australia, Hannah moved to Kumara in 2013.
“I worked in lots of different jobs and industries before starting Hannah Fitzgibbon Facilitation,” she said.
Hannah studied Visual Communication Design at University and learned about design and marketing. She worked as a travel agent in retail and learned about sales. She managed a hotel and restaurant and learned about leading teams and she worked as a home loan specialist at Kiwibank for four years where she learned about finance and risk.
“This wide experience helps me combine the different threads of business - like marketing, customer experience, risk and finance - to help my customers review and optimise their whole business.
“I never thought I would work for myself. But when I was on maternity leave after having my daughter, I had a unique opportunity to reflect on what I wanted next.
“I felt I couldn't really develop at the bank without moving to a city. I knew I wanted to do something different, bigger, but I didn't want to leave the West Coast. My heart is here, I just adore being here and contributing to this community,” she said.
Hannah was interested in adult training and development so she started to explore what it would take to work in that industry.
“There wasn't a lot of in-house opportunities for this on the Coast and I realized that if I wanted to do this and still live here, I needed to take some risks and work for myself.
“I just dived in headfirst. I took a course about workshop facilitation and reached out to local businesses to see if I could help them.”
To gain more foundational knowledge around starting a business, Hannah signed up for DWC’s Co.Starters programme.
“As part of Hannah Fitzgibbon Facilitation I've been lucky enough to facilitate a few Co.Starters cohorts now and I tell the students it's like a helicopter view of the process of having a business from whoa-to-go.
“You get this great big picture that you can break down and dive into more deeply on your own as you develop your business.
“Co.Starters was held in a supportive group environment so I met collaborators and other people who were growing their businesses alongside me. And it encouraged me to reach out to people, some of whom even became my first customers.”
Through her business, Hannah delivers workshops and coaching to support local business owners and their teams.
“I have a broad range of areas that I help people with including: business vision, strategy and planning, leadership, time management and self-management, solution-focussed communication (even in difficult conversations), wellness and problem solving.
“I operate exclusively on the West Coast at this stage and I'm so grateful to be a part of such a vibrant community.
“I care deeply about the success of our region which includes having successful businesses here. It's such a joy to support them.
“If I lived in a city, I don't think I would have been able to build a business like this. Partly because it's so affordable to live here, but also because of the support our community provides. DWC has been great, Co.Starters really helped to start me off on the right foot. There is a lot of opportunity for business owners here if they're open to it.
Hannah is currently working with a range of business owners as they navigate the challenges of COVID, helping them to find stability in their business and manage stress.
“I'm looking forward to supporting more businesses through challenges like this past year but also in their thriving, taking their business and teams from good to great.
“I’m also branching out into the online space and creating online courses and an online community. I'll provide more follow-up resources and amazing tools that they can use to think creatively, problem-solve and build self-confidence, as they manage their business and their teams.
“Entrepreneurship definitely has moments of uncertainty and stress, so I'm looking forward to creating an online space to support my clients even more deeply, alongside our in-person work.”
For more information on Hannah Fitzgibbon Facilitation visit: www.hannahfitzgibbon.com