Jamie MacDonald’s mum ran an Early Childhood Education (ECE) centre in Gore and asked him to make her a website that would help her better communicate with families. Six months later she had some great feedback and a list of improvements.
Jamie could see the idea had a lot of potential. He found business partner Peter Dixon and got a couple of clever guys, Andrew and Matt on board. All three also had mums who were ECE teachers.
“Storypark was born in service to our Mums. Literally.” – Jamie MacDonald
With their Mums’ advice and guidance from experts from around the world, Storypark went gangbusters, growing from that one centre in Gore to almost 7,000 centres in 32 countries.
A young entrepreneur
Jamie says they’ve had to do a lot of experimentation along the way so having a naturally curious, problem-solving mindset has been super-important.
He points out that in New Zealand there aren’t a lot of reference points when it comes to building a purpose-driven software company. You have to make a lot of assumptions and experiment to find what’s going to help build momentum.
“Instead of pocket money, Mum offered to double any money I earned myself.” – Jamie MacDonald
Passionate about their purpose
Jamie believes being motivated by money isn’t going to get you through the tough times. The Storypark goal is pretty simple – to try and help as many children and families as they can. They want to be a global company making the greatest difference.
“Find a purpose that you really care about that will drive you to keep going even when things are unbearably hard.” – Jamie MacDonald
They have some of the world’s best minds in early childhood as advisors, including Dr Edward Melhuish from Oxford University, Dr Charles Pascal from Uni of Toronto, Joce Nuttall from Australia and Anne Meade from New Zealand.
Jamie chose Kiwibank to support them
As a growing Kiwi business trying to make a difference, Jamie wanted to support other local businesses, so chose Kiwibank. He loves that Kiwibank is owned by Kiwis and for Kiwis. At the same time, the bank needed to be great at doing business globally. Kiwibank Business Manager Mieneke Perniskie helped them set up international currency accounts, saving them lots of money on transaction fees and exchange rates.
“Storypark is about building communities that are ‘stronger together’ so when Kiwibank says ‘when you join us, we join you’ it makes us feel like we are in this together.” – Jamie MacDonald
Emerging exporter of the year
Storypark grew around 50% every six months for their first three and a half years and they continue to grow. They’re working with around 60% of all ECE services in New Zealand and are currently supporting over 650,000 children around the world, winning them Emerging Exporter in the Export NZ awards.