Focus on New Plymouth

Posted by The Icehouse on 15/08/2023 9:22:54 AM

With its thriving business community, active alumni and an enlightened and committed attitude to training and development among local businesses, New Plymouth is a perfect fit for The Icehouse.

Focus on New Plymouth

New Plymouth was the venue for our Emerging Leaders Programme in July 2023, plays host to regular alumni and non-alumni networking events, and has a dedicated Icehouse Customer Growth Partner in Kate de Lautour. 

Add to that possible Te Puni Kōkiri funding opportunities available for the region’s Māori owned businesses or iwi affiliated leaders, and New Plymouth and the wider Taranaki region tick all the boxes when it comes to helping emerging leaders and experienced business owners alike unleash their potential locally, nationally and around the world.  

“In New Plymouth we’re seeing a lot of established businesses actively encouraging their not-so experienced leaders to develop in their roles, hence the success of our recent Emerging Leaders Programme,” says Kate.

“Interestingly, we’re not seeing the same challenges around lack of available staff that other regions have. Businesses here have the personnel – often a younger demographic – who just need training to support them into those leadership roles to take them into the higher parts of the business. It’s quite competitive out there, and the region is experiencing plenty of growth, so it's important that businesses are investing in their teams through training, and working on keeping them.”

Taranaki has the third-highest GDP per capita in New Zealand. Manufacturing and agriculture help power the wider Taranaki economy, with oil and gas and dairy farming and food production at its core. New Plymouth was named most liveable city (for a population between 75,000–150,000) by the International Awards for Liveable Communities in 2021.

Many influential local businesses have benefitted from programme participation with The Icehouse, tapping into our own ambitions around maximising growth opportunities for both established and “newer” small and medium-sized businesses. Meeting all ends of the ownership and leadership journey is where we can help.

Lauren McAuslin, franchise Owner Operator of two McDonald’s branches in New Plymouth, and the youngest McDonald’s owner in New Zealand, went on The Icehouse’s flagship Owner Manager Programme (OMP). 

“We had a real mixture [of cohorts] – one who was in a brand-new business, two of us who are at the same point that I’m at, and then two that were at the other end of it looking how to exit successfully. 

“So it was really interesting seeing the different timing to people's journeys, and how to do that successfully and take those learnings. That’s probably one of the strengths of The Icehouse – getting to see other people's journeys and learn from what they're doing… and also coming away realising everyone's having the same issues I'm having.”

Chris Watson, Business Manager at Taranaki Business Services, utilised The Icehouse’s Coaching and Advisory Service and has sent a key team member on EMP 

“I have always been one for using other people’s skills. Our team is skilful, I’m just good at putting it all together and getting people into the right positions. You’ll get the best out of your staff by investing in them – and it doesn't have to be monetary either. It's about recognition, giving them some autonomy, and letting them just be able to get on with their job,” says Chris.

Kim Hill, The Icehouse facilitator for the Emerging Leaders Programme, believes programmes such as these are essential to unlocking talent. “The recent Emerging Leaders Programme in New Plymouth was exceptional. It gives a broad brush of the fundamentals of business, so the leaders of tomorrow are empowered through great learning, facilitation and the cohort gathering, to build their knowledge to gain intelligent thinking about their business. 

“It also provides a safe space for growth around courageous conversations, reflecting on what leadership means, and plugging in to the micro-learning and insights. The energy in the room was inspiring.”

Glenn Brebner, Managing Director of Boon Ltd and an OMP alumni, believes the power of The Icehouse network plays a significant role in supporting the region’s business ecosystem.

“I undertook OMP in 2019, which was invaluable. My friend Richie Shearer, who is a big part of the Taranaki business community, had done OMP and recommended it highly.

“… the experiences of owners and managers across industries are as helpful as those we hear about in our own. The stories of struggle and failure are even more illuminating than those of success, so be part of that conversation. My introduction to The Icehouse came from one of these encounters.

With ‘in the field’ support from Kate, the rest of 2023 and 2024 are exciting times for New Plymouth and The Icehouse.

“We have close links with Venture Taranaki, the regional development agency which helps support local entrepreneurship and enterprises, a centralised support network and people on the ground who are invested in seeing the region’s businesses fly even higher.

“If you’d like to discuss our programmes, coaching and advisory services or need connections, please reach out to the contacts below,” says Kate. 

Contact Kate.

The Icehouse will be in New Plymouth on 14 September. For the latest events in your region and to register, please view our calendar. Be sure to keep checking back, as we aim to run multiple events each year.

For information on programmes, workshops and business coaching services from The Icehouse, click here.

For more business ownership and leadership advice, check out more of our resources.

Icehouse Alumni? For exclusive content on Icehouse Central, register now.


Topics: Kim Hill, Emerging Leaders Programme