Frequently asked questions

Tupu is a 10-week kaupapa-Māori accelerator program designed to accelerate the growth of early-stage Māori startups and prepare them for investment.

Tupu is open to Māori-founded startups in their early stages of development. We welcome applications from Māori founders who are passionate about scaling their businesses and making a positive impact.

Tupu runs over 10 weeks and consists of the following

  • 1 x online selection wānanga (Online, 5-6 April)
  • 4 x in-person noho wānanga (Auckland, Fridays/Saturdays)
  • 2 x weekly lunchtime coaching sessions (Online, Tuesdays/Thursdays)
  • 1 x weekly one-on-one coaching session with your mentor (Online, time TBD)
Tupu offers a comprehensive accelerator programme delivered by experienced business mentors and coaches, networking opportunities with potential investors, practical workshops, and a $5,000 startup grant.

Tupu is uniquely by Māori, for Māori kaupapa, tailored to the needs of rakahinonga Māori (Māori entrepreneurs) and provides tikanga-led mentorship and support.

Tupu covers essential topics such as crafting compelling pitches and securing financing, validating solutions, developing minimal viable products, and streamlining workflow with sprint methodologies across the following four wānanga: 

WĀNANGA 1: Problem validation

  • Participants dive deep into the needs and demands of their target customers to understand their key pain point. Through customer validation and market sizing techniques, participants understand the core of the problem to solve.

WĀNANGA 2: Solution validation

  • Achieving a clear problem definition enables rakahinonga to rigorously test the product concept, with feedback loops to continue to test and iterate the solution.

WĀNANGA 3:Product Development

  • Solutions are taken through an intensive wireframing design process to develop the MVP: the development approach to quickly produce a product that meets minimum levels of useability for the target customers.

WĀNANGA 4: Sales and Marketing

  • Building the sales process to acquire target customers, including product pricing, lead conversion, promotion channels, brand value and storytelling.


Tupu is facilitated by experienced business coach Saara Tawha, in collaboration with Tapuwae Roa and Sprout Agritech.

Tupu accepts up to ten teams of early-stage Māori-founded startups into each cohort.

The application process involves submitting an online application form, which includes questions about your startup, team, and growth aspirations. Shortlisted teams will be invited to present to a selection panel where the final decision will be made.

There is no cost to participate in Tupu. Selected teams receive access to all program resources and wānanga free of charge.
Applications close at 5 pm, 25 March 2024.
Each participating team will receive $5,000 towards their startup. This will be distributed in two payments (one at the start of the programme, one at the end). In order to be eligible for the payment, your startup will need to be a registered company.