Kaeo - Creating business opportunities
In Kaeo, a small town in the Far North District, the Aotearoa People’s Network Kaharoa at the local library is proving a valuable resource for fledging businesses.
New opportunies for locals
Yazma Smith and Llanace Broughton opened Kaeo Creations, a store that specialises in locally sourced artwork, three months ago. Access to the internet they have at Kaeo Library via the People’s Network has been “invaluable” in getting their business up and running.
Neither Broughton nor Smith, whose artwork features in the store, have their own broadband internet connection and so rely on the service provided at their local library.
“We don’t have internet at home so our only access is through the library. Even our banking and stuff we have to go to the library and do, so it is quite an important resource to us.”
Internet important in all aspects of business
As well as practical tasks like online banking, Smith has found the APNK service beneficial in many other ways - from searching for other similar retail spaces to see what’s on offer, to finding local artists who might be interested in having their work displayed in the shop, to finding artistic inspiration for her paintings – access to the internet has played an important part in every aspect of the business.
Information accessed online at the library has also helped Smith gain knowledge and upskill herself in other areas such as funding, as she explains -
“I go online and suss out business, what business is about, about being a sole trader ...and finding out about taxes and funding - what we might be able to get funding for. So it’s right across the board, really.”
Kaeo Creations is also looking to have its own web presence in the form of a blog (set up with advice supplied by local library staff), thereby broadening their customer base as a way of combatting the lull that inevitably occurs in the tourist off-season.
“We haven’t really felt any pressure to set up a blog yet (because it’s been really busy) although we know that when the winter comes and this town turns into a ghost town then we will need to think more global and go outside Northland for our business.”
All in all, Smith recognises that the Internet is a vital tool in running a modern business.
“It (free internet access) is very, very valuable to our community. Absolutely. And we really value that resource. We realise that if we weren’t able to access the internet it would just be a huge hindrance to us.”