Importance of start-up governance stressed

Dunedin business leaders (from left) Sarah Ramsay, Nigel Bamford and Scott Mason spoke about...
Dunedin business leaders (from left) Sarah Ramsay, Nigel Bamford and Scott Mason spoke about start-up governance at an Institute of Directors seminar yesterday. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
A strong governance structure for start-up businesses is "essential," Dunedin business leaders believe.

The Otago Southland branch of the Institute of Directors (IoD) hosted a seminar yesterday to discuss start-up business governance.

A panel of local Dunedin business leaders explored how start-up organisations can ensure good governance standards to build a sustainable organisation when funds and/or expertise may be lacking.

Nigel Bamford, co-founder of Escea Gas Fires, Sarah Ramsay, chief executive of United Machinists and adviser to multiple start-ups, and Scott Mason, managing partner of Findex and professional director, were on the panel.

They shared their stories and experiences working in start-up governance.

The start-up phase was when businesses were learning how to operate and it was "essential" for them to have strong governance, Mr Bamford said.

"Even if it seems silly to have a business that has three employees and three on the board of directors, for the rest of your business life you are going to have a board and you may as well start by seeing how that all works.

"You shouldn’t ignore board stuff because how will you ever learn what board stuff is?" he said.

Mr Mason believed that a board should have good reporting processes in place to keep track of the company’s progress.

"It is less about the information and more about stopping and taking a step back and having that thought process about what is happening in the business and should be happening.

"It is a healthy process to undertake," he said.

Directors had to make sure there was a plan and strategy in place for the business, Mrs Ramsay said.

"And making sure we are all sticking to that is key and that will make it easy to stay on message, because everyone should know what they are supposed to be delivering," she said.

The IoD will be holding formal training for company directors in Dunedin later this month.


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