Scaling up to score big – Korou Digital Co-operative

By Cooperative Business New Zealand | August 2019
Based in Wairoa, a collective comprising six businesses and 16 digital leaders is in the process of setting up Korou Digital Co-operative.

The New Zealand game industry has experienced 39% annual growth for the last six years and now there’s a Hawke’s Bay worker co-operative scaling up to score big while promoting Māori economic development. 

Based in Wairoa, a collective comprising six businesses and 16 digital leaders is in the process of setting up Korou Digital Co-operative. This seeks to provide training and work in creative content software development targeted at New Zealand video gaming, education and movie-making industries.

One of the co-operative members, Hinerangi Edwards, said Korou’s goal is to create alternative work solutions that build on what the town has in abundance: innovation, resilience, culture and tech-savvy leadership.

“We love that as a co-operative we are working to our strengths. And our digital exporting ability will take our market beyond our physical location.”

Korou Digital is in the final stage of securing subsidised employment through the Ministry for Social Development and is now working with the Provincial Growth Fund to seek start-up funding.

Fellow co-op member, Andrew Hume, said each intern that enters the programme will be fully employed from day one, starting with 12 weeks of industry training followed by 40 weeks of work in the fastest-growing sector in the New Zealand economy.

“Our ultimate goal is to produce 32 trained, experienced and innovative employees, employers or potential co-operative members each year. While at the same time facilitating and supporting the possibility that they will stay in Wairoa and become positive contributors to our community, economy and environment.

“This provides an excellent opportunity in a town with historically, declining employment opportunities. Wairoa currently has a 63% Māori population while it is a proud and innovative place to live and work.”

Training includes business and leadership skills as well as tikanga, creative content and software development.

Alastair Hercus, Partner at Buddle Findlay (one of our Corporate Associate Members), is presently helping Korou Digital Co-operative with drafting a suitable constitution and gaining registration.

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