With a borrowed ’92 Isuzu truck, a set of hand tools and backing from his iwi, Danny Beattie sparked a dream into reality.
After two decades in the electrical industry, the father of three decided it was time to be his own boss and with help from his kids, he came up with the name – Kaha Energy Solutions.
“In 2015 I decided to go out on my own. After being at the coalface for 20 years, it was time for a business mindset. If you’ve ever been in business, you’ll know that’s challenging,” he says.
To help make the switch, Kaha Energy Solutions was one of 30 small Māori-owned businesses to benefit from Pakihi – a nationwide series of free business workshops delivered via Te Wānanga o Aotearoa and business partners Crowe Horwath and Aotahi.
Danny’s initial aim was to get help around marketing, but the workshops – where he was together with other Waikato-based businesses – turned out to be networking gold themselves.
“To be able to sit at the table with other business in all areas like retail and graphic design, I really got a lot out of that opportunity. The presentations were right on the money in terms of sharing knowledge and experience. Now it’s about putting my best foot forward.”
Kaha Energy Solutions already has more than enough tribal-affiliated business to keep its lights on and Danny says he’s now looking forward to becoming the preferred electrical contract for Tainui while developing further employment opportunities for tribal members training through the Māori and Pasifika Trade Training programme.
“We’re still in our growth stage but I’ve already got two sons training to become electricians as we work out how we can cater to more customers and deliver more mahi.”
Danny says other Māori in business should take the opportunity to be part of Pakihi.
“Having access to resources, network building and all those sorts of things, I would never have been able to achieve that in mainstream. Whether it be in the trades, or whatever sector, take advantage of these programmes because they are there for whānau. I wouldn’t be where I am today without their workshops.”