Hokitika Co.Starters graduate

15 April 2021
Development West Coast
Business pitches, product sampling and collaboration marked the recent celebration night in Hokitika for the participants of Development West Coast’s Co.Starters programme.

Celebration night

Co.Starters is a nine-week business start-up and development programme that equips aspiring entrepreneurs with the insights, relationships and tools needed to turn business ideas into action.

The recent graduating class included a range of established and soon-to-open businesses. The group was supported by facilitators Hannah Fitzgibbon and Dave Ritchie, along with weekly guest speakers from the local business community.

The celebration night was hosted and catered by two of the programme’s graduates - Aaron Shaw at the soon-to-open Sunset Point Brewery and Col Pieper from Te Rere Organics and Kitchen.

DWC Programme Coordinator Rachel Doolan was impressed with the level of community support for the programme.

“It’s fantastic to see members of the Hokitika business community giving their time to come share knowledge and inspiration with these budding entrepreneurs.”

Ms. Fitzibbon said the Co.Starters Programme is a great introductory business course for new businesses and existing businesses who want to pivot, review or refine their offering.

“The participants learn technical business skills and information, but more importantly, they develop with a community of like-minded, values-driven people. It was a delight to facilitate Hokitika's recent cohort and to see the benefits of these courageous business people flowing into our region."

At the end of the celebration night the audience were asked to vote for the ‘best pitch’ and the graduates voted on the ‘most improved participant’.

Stephen Shrives took home the prize for best pitch of the night on his business Earth Star Concepts and Designs Ltd, while Liala Gianstefani, Panacea Natural Health, won the prize for most improved participant.

“Co.Starters has refocused my business and given me confidence to step up! The insights from the facilitators, guest speakers and cohort has helped me articulate what makes my business tick, and why I’m passionate about what I do!”

Liala Gianstefani

Co.Starters graduation night.JPG

To register your interest in the Co.Starters programme, please contact DWC on events@dwc.org.nz


Past graduates