Countdown Invests in Small Businesses in Aotearoa

Countdown has today launched Kete, a brand-new business accelerator programme that represents more than $1 million of investment into the future of small businesses in Aotearoa.

With just under 1 per cent of Countdown’s current supplier spend with Māori-owned suppliers, the Kete accelerator is focussed on helping encourage a more diverse supplier base in Aotearoa, including business owned by Māori, Pasifika, youth, women, LGBTQIA+ people and people with disabilities.

With Kete, Countdown aims to empower up to five small and diverse businesses to achieve their own version of success through a 12 month programme specially designed to make a meaningful difference to each business.  Each of the businesses chosen to be part of Kete will receive a package worth over $250,000 including a $20,000 cash grant, customer marketing support, access to Countdown customer insights, product development and manufacturing support, and mentorship from experts across Countdown.

Countdown’s General Manager Corporate Affairs, Safety and Sustainability, Kiri Hannifin, said Countdown is determined to help support the growth of small businesses in Aotearoa and encourage more diversity in its supplier community.

“The business world is difficult to navigate at the best of times, and there are huge challenges when you’re starting out.  We’re particularly interested in supporting local businesses owned by people who often face extra hurdles and challenges in the business world.  We know there will be lots of businesses out there that would love to be stocking their products at Countdown but need some extra support and guidance to make an impact on our shelves.

“Kete is going to give five small, diverse businesses a complete toolbox of support and resources to help turn ideas into reality, and we’re delighted to be able to help equip entrepreneurs and innovators in such a meaningful way,” said Hannifin.

Countdown is working with Amotai, Aotearoa’s supplier diversity intermediary, throughout Kete to ensure the accelerator delivers meaningful results for the businesses involved.

Frae Cairns, Amotai’s Capability Manager said programmes like Kete are really important in accelerating the success of diverse businesses in Aotearoa and it’s fantastic to see organisations like Countdown eager to use their time and resources to help foster the next generation of entrepreneurs.

“It can be incredibly challenging to reach your goals as a small, minority-owned business and while the cash grant is great, what’s even better is the wraparound support and expertise that Kete offers. It’s in-depth, meaningful and will really make a difference to the future of each business and to the ongoing mahi to diversify the business world here in Aotearoa”

Applications to be part of Countdown’s Kete programme are now open for all small-medium sized New Zealand businesses. Applications close on 15 August 2021.

To apply visit