The Incubator – Creative HQ

Creative HQ

Learn how Creative HQ focused on relationships, working, and learning from each other to redesign its startup Incubator programme.


The startup ecosystem had evolved and Creative HQ needed to review its offering to ensure it was meeting both startup founders’ and external stakeholders’ needs for investment ready businesses.


Creative HQ redesigned its startup Incubator programme to build founder capability, offer bespoke support and improve early stage investment deal flow.

Observations and lessons learnt

Collaboration with the public and non-government entities

Map your ecosystem 

The startup ecosystem in New Zealand has evolved significantly in the last 10 years since the Creative HQ programme was first established. Creative HQ saw the importance of reviewing the full ecosystem including all the other players who support and invest in startups. Understanding this has enabled Creative HQ to develop a complementary, rather than a competitive programme that fits alongside existing services offered to startups. The ecosystem works together to support founders at different phases of their journey.  

Share what you do

Creative HQ shares learnings and resources with other startup programmes in the ecosystem in order to improve the quality of services as a whole. Providers that support each other and appreciate the value that they each bring will better serve their customers. In practical terms, this means that from time to time Creative HQ may host other providers if they need a co-working space when they're in Wellington.


Listen and act

The team saw the need to undertake a thorough evaluation of the programme to better understand its specific value within the ecosystem. Without speaking to founders, funders, and other stakeholders, they wouldn’t have learned the nuances they needed to redesign the programme. For example, feedback on the programme allowed the team to recognise that a customised approach to founder support was needed, because founders join the programme at different stages.

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