Entrepreneur launches $20 million business start-up support fund
An influential New Zealand beauty brand’s creator has established a $20 million fund to support the growth of other regional company owners.
The first zero-waste beauty product in the world, Ethique, was created in 2012 by Brianne West at her kitchen table.
However, she claimed that a shortage of readily available financing was making it more difficult for business owners to launch their ventures.
West established Nous Labs, a company that offers funding and coaching for businesses with an environmental and social focus that are in their early phases of development, to help with this.
According to West, more must be done to allow startups to mature or the domestic sector would lose out on significant prospects.
Startup survival rates have decreased by 45 percent over the last six years, according to Stats NZ data.
However, West noted that it was particularly challenging for companies that sought to address social or environmental problems.
“Only around 5% of social enterprise startups survive through their first decade. 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,” she said.
Because they frequently offered a new concept to the market that required a bigger investment or more significant R&D costs at an early stage, she added, social companies were even more challenging to launch than a typical corporation.
In order to carefully target this set of social enterprise entrepreneurs, Nous Labs has begun with $20 million.
The fund aimed to assist brand launches at a very early level and subsequently expand domestic products for global distribution.
The company is now providing an early-stage business help package worth $140,000 to those that fit this brief.
As long as they can identify a social or sustainability problem they are aiming to remedy and specifics of how that will be achieved, the fund is accessible to everyone from tertiary students to established enterprises, she said.
When launching a small firm, West is aware of the difference that early help can make. She claimed that winning the EY Young Entrepreneur of the Year award while still in college helped Ethique expand more quickly.
Thousands of stores in more than 25 countries now get products from Ethique’s line of regenerative beauty products.
“Having entered a competition that helped me reach mentors and access support while I was studying at university, I recognise the need to help bring socially focused entrepreneurs through the initial stage of their startup development.”