Far North Thrive Programme

The Far North Thrive programme helped participants explore how to start a new organisation to improve their community.

Many communities in New Zealand’s Far North face social and economic challenges but it is also a region of breath taking beauty and rich natural resources. It has passionate and active communities who deeply understand the challenges and opportunities in the region.

Who better than locals to start enterprises that solve a social or environmental problems facing their community leading to sustainable and prosperous communities?

What was it?

Far North Thrive was a four-month programme for individuals or teams to explore new ideas and learn how to start a successful social enterprise. This programme was especially designed for Far North communities and was delivered in partnership by the Ākina Foundation and the Far North District Council.



Who was the programme for?

It was for anyone who deeply careed about their community and wanted to make positive and lasting change.  Participants were driven by a social or environmental purpose, and wanted to use business practices to achieve this. More specifically this programme was for:

• Local business leaders that wished to leverage skills and experience for social purpose businesses

•  Community leaders that wanted to harness business to achieve positive outcomes for their community

• Individuals that cared about the Far North and wanted to gain skills to lead the creation of community social enterprise

• Existing social enterprises or community organisations that were pursuing new social enterprise activities

We selected people who would most benefit from this type of programme to create an impactful, sustainable, enterprise in their community.

What do we mean by social purpose business / social enterprise?

Social purpose businesses go above and beyond business as usual – they’re created primarily for the benefit of the community where they operate. Often this means they’re geared to tackle some of the most challenging issues facing the community. Social purpose business might provide employment opportunities for long term unemployed (CBEC), improve the health of people and communities (Patu Aotearoa ) create valuable assets or businesses that are collectively owned by the community (Blueskin Energy) The possibilities are as varied as the challenges faced by local communities.

How was this NOT a training programme?

Participants did not simply sit through workshops over the four months. They took charge of their learning and were challenged to take the first steps to create their enterprise. They were surrounded by others on a similar journey and experienced facilitators who were tasked with helping them succeed.

How long was the programme and when did it take place?

Four months, starting April 2015 and ending in August 2015.

What was Ākina’s role?  What was the Far North District Council’s role?

The Ākina Foundation was leading the design of the programme and facilitated workshops.  Ken Ross from the Far North District Council is an experienced mentor and co-facilitated throughout the programme alongside Ākina.

For more information on the Far North Thrive programme, contact info@akina.org.nz