About the Business Growth team

The WellingtonNZ Business Growth team is here to help businesses throughout the Wellington region to have an impact, employ more people, and grow sustainably

Part of our job at WellingtonNZ is economic development – supporting the Wellington regional economy to thrive. We want to see businesses succeed, innovate, create jobs, and have a positive impact on our communities, climate, and environment.

We’re part of a larger ecosystem, working with local, regional and central government agencies. We take an inclusive approach to supporting all business communities including Māori, Pasifika and new immigrant business owners.

Our team of experienced Business Growth managers work with businesses to find opportunities to upskill, innovate and grow. We have strong connections to trusted experts and networks to help businesses find the support they need.

Meet the team

Welcome to our business support team. We are here to support your business.

Mariana Askin

Business Support Coordinator

When we say “contact us” it really means contact Mariana. Mariana is our business support co-ordinator, connecting you to our range of services or letting you know about other resources and programmes that may be helpful in whatever stage of business you’re in.

James Bennie

Business Growth Manager

With a background in hospitality as both a trainer and consultant, James has expert knowledge of the hospitality sector and can help these businesses look at what they need to succeed. James also looks after businesses in ICT and Professional Services.

“Having had my own business for 10 years, I understand the pain points that small businesses go through and can use that knowledge to help workshop what’s needed for them to improve.”

Allison Ralph-Smith

Business Growth Manager & Innovation Specialist

Allison is our Innovation Specialist, working with cutting-edge Wellington companies to secure funding and support to develop new products and technologies. She works closely with Callaghan Innovation to support funding applications and find the right support companies need to grow and innovate.

"It is a privilege to work with business owners who dare to take risks in pursuit of innovation. They are the mavericks, geniuses and entrepreneurs that bring me along on their ride and make this role so rewarding."

Tyler Dunkel

Business Growth Manager

Tyler has a broad background in public, private, and not-for-profit organisations in New Zealand and abroad. Originating from the North Bay area of California, Tyler brings a unique out-of-the-box perspective to achieving business success. Tyler is currently working toward a Master of Business Professional in Economics with dual specialisations in Digital Transformation & Leadership and Entrepreneurship Innovation & Commercialisation.

“I have a curious nature that helps me focus the broader strategic picture of an organisation as well as on its minute details. My varied background helps me challenge established norms to create growth."

Deborah Wall

Business Growth Manager & Innovation Specialist

Deborah is an Innovation Specialist and has a sound understanding of the funding and support services available to businesses looking to innovate and grow. Deborah is up to speed with RDTI, the R&D Tax Credit scheme, and she works closely with Callaghan Innovation to match businesses to the support they require.

“Innovation must be kept alive and well in NZ and it is my goal to provide connections, funding, and quality support to ensure it does. Having a successful business and working for Callaghan I completely understand the rollercoaster ride.”

Claire Faulk

Team Lead Business Growth

Claire is our Business Growth and Innovation Team Lead, who oversees our business growth programmes, as well as our Covid Business Recovery team.

“I have the pleasure of leading this team of enthusiastic, talented business supporters. We are proud to be part of the Regional Business Partner Network delivering services throughout the Wellington region on behalf of MBIE and Callaghan Innovation.”

Get in touch

Looking to discuss options? Get in touch with the Business Growth team today.

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