Manawa Udy - Founder and CEO Ngahere Inc.
Founder and CEO Ngahere Inc.
Social Enterprise, Auckland
Kim: I’ve been working with Manawa as a trusted and key advisor for several years on the strategic growth of the business, ensuring her vision can be visualised, facilitated and actioned without compromising the company ethos, which is vital for Manawa. Being trusted across all areas of operations, from high-level strategy to staff engagement, is vital for me, too.
Part of our approach includes holding regular meetings to clarify the business’s ultimate aspirations, understanding what success looks like, identifying pain points, and establishing best practices to manage growth for sustainability, while at the same time staying accountable.
I feel part of the team – a supportive, fresh person who puts in place that best practice as we analyse what is and isn’t working in the business – or what could be better, such as building a robust organisational structure to support growth and to refine a long-term model of sustainability while staying agile due to the impact of Covid.
There is no point having high-level strategy talks without the implementation, and Manawa has grasped that completely. For example, how can you continue on a path where the results speak for themselves while not being so reliant on government funding? Manawa has the tools to achieve incredible things!
Manawa: The business is currently experiencing a lot of growth, which brings with it its own set of challenges. I’d personally got to a point where I needed some help, while the business needed some good external and objective wise counsel.
We’re working together right now (October 2021) and meet up weekly or fortnightly. We have so much going on and it takes a while to unpack it all, and then see how we can reconfigure it and tweak it and position ourselves moving forward. There's a lot of work to do and Kim is a great asset.
As I already had a relationship with Kim (business partner Mel Tautalanoa worked with her on another business), she knew a lot about who we are and what we were doing, so she was the first person I reached out to.
What we really needed was help around business operations and how we manage growth and identify growth opportunities - by making sure we had the right business operations, systems and processes and staffing and structure in place, plus some coaching on top of that.
We have a group of businesses with three that sit together and the position we’re at now means we often have to say “no” because we don't have the capacity. Kim has got us to a place where we want to be able to say “yes” to the opportunities that are coming our way.
Essentially, as a business owner, and founder, I'm stepping into a realm I haven't been in before. So having someone to support me personally, who understands Māori, the way that we do things and the way that we think about and approach business was vital.
I find it easy to take advice from people that have been there before. If there's no level of experience there, I find it hard to take what they have to say because they haven't done it. Kim has, so it makes it very easy to trust her advice.
With Kim I feel like I can be myself, that I don't need to hide the ugly parts and I know she can handle it because she can speak to that, coach me as a person and who I am as opposed to just the business.
We’ve had multiple business advisors on our journey in the past, and some of them we've just stopped working with. We felt that they were solely focused on the business and not aligned with who we are, how we work and how we think about the business – concentrating on a spreadsheet, as opposed to a founder.
Kim comes with a holistic approach and with trust and integrity and she has that experience. She runs her own business, is incredibly successful and influential – she understands the dynamics of what we are facing in south Auckland, within the Māori business ecosystem.
Even more so, Kim knows what it’s like being female, Māori and in business – a rare breed. And when you do find them, they're usually so busy because everyone wants their time and expertise, so they’re pulled in many directions.
You can only pour stuff into a cup until it's full and it starts flowing over the edge. We're full and we need a bigger cup. Kim will help us get from one stage to the next and find that bigger cup.