Kiwi Startup Support Fund

A new $20 million fund and incubation initiative designed to address the high failure rate of New Zealand startups with a social or environmental purpose has launched.

Nous Labs is a growth organisation that will be providing investment, mentoring, coaching and marketing support for developing kiwi enterprises. As the brainchild of Brianne West, Founder & CEO of the country’s largest regenerative beauty product exporter Ethique, Nous Labs hopes to address the high failure rates of New Zealand startups. 

The latest government data noted that the survival rate of startups with a social focus has declined by 45 percent over the last six years. This trend began prior to the start of the pandemic.

"Businesses which are mission-driven often face additional barriers in reaching the next stage of their lifecycle and lack the support and infrastructure needed for long-term viability." Said West.

“These social enterprises may be introducing a new concept to the market which requires a high investment in consumer education, they may incur significant R&D costs in the early stages of their launch or the cost of giving back in some form may simply be too high for a startup to bear. As someone who has started and scaled a mission-driven company, I have a first-hand understanding of the barriers they will encounter.”

West believes that the benefits socially and environmentally driven companies will provide to society and the economy are too great to ignore. The first stage of Nous Labs will see a competition open to New Zealand entrepreneurs of all ages with an early startup. Ideas will be presented virtually to an expert panel, where the social or sustainability problem they are seeking to change and details of how that will be achieved must be outlined.

The total support fund is valued at $20 million, with individual business support packages for startups valued at $140,000.