Free training programme for Rotorua businesses

INCUBATE graduate Melanie Schuler. Photo. Michelle Cutelli Photography.

Rotorua businesses and non-profits have benefited from a free business training programme.

The next course will start in March and Rotorua organisations are encouraged to take part.

The INCUBATE programme is being run by Firestation, a Rotorua based business growth centre who work with business owners and their teams across the central North Island including Rotorua, Tauranga, Kawerau, Whakatane, Taupo and Tokoroa.

Melanie Schuler from Woodhouse Architecture completed the INCUBATE programme in November and said it was a great experience.

“Through the INCUBATE programme I redefined my business’s purpose,” says Melanie. “I thought it was an excellent programme that taught me essential business strategies and implementation tools. I highly recommend it to all business owners.”

Schuler’s business is an architectural design and consultancy company. Her aim is to design buildings which contribute more to their environment than they take.

“It got me to focus on re-evaluating my business approach. I especially found the financial management sessions beneficial,” she says.

“The learning was great, but it also allowed me to focus on working on my business strategies and growth. Plus, I got to connect with other like-minded people and business owners.

“It was a great experience and has definitely benefited my business.”

Toni Adams from Fanny Adams Underwear also completed the INCUBATE programme last year and urges other businesses to do the programme.

“I started my business more than seventeen years ago and got a lot of out this programme,” says Toni. “For me, the best part was the education regarding marketing and advertising, which has had a big impact.

“It completely changed my approach, which gave me more time to focus on growth. It altered how I spent my time, I moved away from operational and focused more on strategy and planning.”

Programme director Darren McGarvie says Firestation’s flagship INCUBATE programme is focused on execution and helping businesses and non-profits become more resilient.

“There is nothing else like this programme locally with the blend of group training and individual coaching,” says Darren. “Over the last five years we have had around 250 organisations complete our programmes. We know they can make a difference.”

The free INCUBATE programme can accept ten businesses to take part. Applications close at the end of February, with the programme starting in March.

For more information or to apply go to

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