Funding for small businesses and start-ups

02 April 2015 / Published in Business

Founded in 2012 by Sophie Gilmour, Ben Grant and David Holmes, Bird on a Wire is a unique takeaway shop in Auckland that focuses on fresh, real, handmade food. We recently started working with Bird on a Wire and its expansion to a new store in Takapuna that opens today. As a small start-up the team found acquiring funding frustrating and challenging. We were glad we were able to help and have confidence in the owners behind Bird on a Wire as well as the business itself; we believe in the owners and their ability to work hard and succeed.

About Bird on a Wire

The three friends bought a fish and chip shop in Ponsonby in November 2011. They ceased making fish and chips in March 2012 and reopened as Bird on a Wire – making free range rotisserie chicken and a variety of salads, sandwiches, burgers and sides.

They have since opened two Box of Bird stores in Auckland CBD; Box of Bird is an edited, express version of Bird on a Wire. Their new Bird on a Wire store in Takapuna opens today!

The ambition behind Bird on a Wire

The Bird on a Wire team had seen the success of rotisserie chicken shops in Sydney and thought they’d like to do something similar in Auckland. When the Ponsonby fish and chip shop went on the market they knew it’d be perfect so they purchased it with the intention of converting it to Bird on a Wire.

The ambition behind the food served at Bird on a Wire stems from the co-owners’ own personal food philosophies; they believe in a balanced diet that doesn’t exclude anything, nor include excess of anything – they think you should be able to have a burger if you want one but it should be real, unprocessed food. So the Bird on a Wire and Box of Bird stores offer real, handmade food that’s nutritionally and ethically guilt-free.

Sophie says the initial ambitions behind Bird on a Wire have remained the same but they’ve added a new ambition for the future: expansion. They want to open more shops around Auckland, then in the rest of New Zealand and eventually they’ll expand overseas.

The funding challenge for small businesses and start-ups

One of the biggest challenges start-ups and small businesses face is funding. Being a new business the Bird on a Wire team certainly faced this; they found it extremely hard to get funding and support from their former bank. At ASB we believe in Bird on a Wire and recognise its success and potential for future success so we were prepared to back the business. As Sophie told co.magazine recently, “Our friends at the ASB jumped on the Bird bandwagon with us after our incumbent bank wouldn’t even sit down and discuss finance with us.”

We chose to back Bird on a Wire not only because of the business but also because of the people behind the business; the three co-owners all have all built successful careers prior to Bird on a Wire which demonstrates their passion, dedication and strong work ethics.

We recognise that obtaining finance and getting support can be hard for small businesses, especially when they’re starting out or going through a growth period, so we look beyond just the numbers and past performance. Here at ASB, we consider the people behind the business, the ambition that drives what they do and their future opportunities.

Support and mentoring for small business owners and entrepreneurs

After funding, another challenge small business owners encounter is support. Running your own business or starting a new one is very rewarding but it can be stressful, lonely and difficult. Having the right support can be the key to a successful business. Sophie found support and mentorship in Company of Women – an organisation aimed at helping fast track the success of entrepreneurial thinking women. Another great support organisation is Business Mentors New Zealand. ASB is proud to sponsor both of these organisations to ensure New Zealand business owners get the support they need to succeed.

About the co-owners

Sophie Gilmour

Sophie graduated with a LLB/BA from Otago University in 2009 then practiced law as a solicitor at Kensington Swan for three years and as a junior barrister for 18 months before launching Bird on a Wire.

Ben Grant

Ben is a commerce graduate from Otago University. He spent most of his early career working in venture capital and management consulting; he then went on to managing three hospitality businesses prior to founding Bird on a Wire.

David Holmes

David is a secondary school teacher and a member of the New Zealand Opera Company's Chorus. He has also worked as a waiter in some of Auckland's top restaurants. David is a foodie and enjoys getting creative in the kitchen.

If you’re an entrepreneur or business owner looking for support from your bank then contact your local relationship manager to discuss your options.


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