Last year was a tough one for Ōmokoroa-based Spoffit Reid: His father died, he lost his job and he was juggling the demands of building a new home - all amid the anxieties of the Covid-19 pandemic.
But Reid (Ngāi Te Rangi) has come out the end of it with a Certificate of Small Business & Project Management, Level 4, from Te Wānanga o Aotearoa in Tauranga.
He is one of hundreds of Te Wānanga o Aotearoa tauira (students) due to attend the latest Tauranga campus graduation ceremony this Friday at Bethlehem Baptist Church.
Reid, 33, said what he's learned at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa has helped him move forward with his new geotechnical engineering business, trading as Geoverse NZ.
"One day I was looking at how I could apply for grants or how I would finance my business idea. I noticed that I needed a business plan and the amount of time required to complete the paperwork looked daunting," said Reid, who originally hails from Maketu.
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A friend recommended doing a business course at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa. "Going into this course my goal was to better understand my business and how I could run it successfully."
Not long after he started the course, Covid-19 put the nation into lockdown. Reid appreciated how Te Wānanga o Aotearoa adapted to teaching online during periods of rāhui.
Then, in June, he was made redundant due to the deteriorating economic conditions. After he found more work he learned his father, Arapata Reid, had died, which motivated him to push on with his business.
"I now had extra fuel in the tank to see my business succeed. I dug deep and continued with the business plan."
As the course progressed, Reid's original idea for a recruitment agency evolved into one for his current business. "I learned about different marketing strategies, finances, sustainability, risks associated with going into business, websites, logos, and much more."
His vision is to improve the quality of geotechnical test results provided throughout Aotearoa: "I currently work within the Bay of Plenty and Waikato but will look to expand out into Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch when I am ready."
He warmly commends his kaiako (teacher), Ra Winiata, saying: "His ability to teach in a way that is soft and kind is a testament to the leadership at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa."