The Icehouse spreads its wings

19:23, Feb 17 2013

Auckland-headquartered business growth centre the Icehouse is putting business gurus and its SME-focused programmes into new regions this year.

Bay of Plenty and Christchurch will be the second and third cabs off the rank this year after Hawke's Bay.

CEO Andy Hamilton says the incubator ran pilot programmes for startups with Bay of Plenty economic development agency Priority One last year, which gave his organisation confidence in the regional model.

The Icehouse is trialling in Hawke's Bay for three months with local partners including the Chamber of Commerce and the BNZ, and plans an official launch in Hawke's Bay in April.

“Hawke’s Bay was a great confined area with good alumni and great networks. We thought it would be a good place for us to kick off our regional rollout,” says Hamilton.

Hawke’s Bay-based Icehouse Owner Manager Programme alumni Hamish Whyte, managing director of Furnware, and Future Products Group CEO Robert Darroch, have helped establish the Icehouse’s services in Hawke’s Bay. Auckland-based Icehouse business coach Peter Wogan has been spending three days a week in Hawke’s Bay overseeing the rollout there.

The Icehouse will offer business coaching and the Owner Operator programme, and will adapt its services in the three regions according to businesses’ needs. Managers have been selected for each region, but Hamilton says who they are can’t yet be revealed.

The Icehouse will mainly use partners’ existing premises, rather than creating its own, he says.

“Utimately it’s about putting people in region and then adding value to the SMEs.”