Startup Queenstown Lakes’ newest Startup Business Advisor has first-hand experience when it comes to turning a passion into a business, now he wants to help others do the same.
Marco Dingemans took a step back from corporate life back in 2016, following a move from the UK to Arrowtown. It led to a natural opportunity to leverage his past business experience with a growing passion as part of the lifestyle change.
“My husband already knew Pilates was the right thing for me to do but you don’t always see that yourself because you question ‘how could that work?’ and ‘how can I make money?’,” Marco said. He set up ArrowPilates and four years later the business is going strong. Marco’s pilates venture isn’t the first time he’s started his own business.
Originally from the Netherlands, Marco studied Tourism and Marketing, later followed by a Masters in Communications and Organisation Science in Amsterdam.
While living in London, Marco set up a travel agency focussing on tailor-made trips for Dutch tourists coming to London. It started with a few walking tours and evolved into fully organised tours for groups including accommodation, transport and activities.
This ‘little’ side-business grew larger than expected and became his main source of income.
He also spent time working for his own consultancy business among other marketing/communication roles for companies such as Barclays, Arup and Accenture.
Today, those combined experiences as an entrepreneur and marketer give him numerous experiences to call upon when advising entrepreneurs seeking help in the Wakatipu as part of the Startup Queenstown Lakes team.
Helping the community
Since landing down under, Marco has done his best to get involved in the local community.
On top of starting ArrowPilates, he has been a board member of the Arrowtown Business and Promotion Association and helped get the Farmers Market in Arrowtown off the ground.
He has since resigned from that position but still spends time volunteering for Meals on Wheels in the Frankton/Kelvin Heights area on a monthly basis.
Creating fertile soil
Now Marco has shifted his focus slightly, to help other budding entrepreneurs while continuing to run his own business.
“Being able to help and advise entrepreneurs in their early business adventures, and listening to amazing ideas locals come up with, is exciting and inspiring.”
“There is so much talent in this region, which I hope to help nurture and develop in this role,” he said. Marco has been facilitating workshops and running startup advice clinics with entrepreneurs in the region since October and is finding the role rewarding.
“Our communal goal is to create fertile soil for entrepreneurship. So being, or becoming, an entrepreneur is made easier as we are there to help.”
With his feet firmly planted in Arrowtown, Marco has found supporting new entrepreneurs with whatever help they need rewarding.
“I’m excited to be a startup business advisor for Startup Queenstown Lakes and help others learn from my experiences.”
Interested in getting help from Marco or other advisors on the Startup Queenstown Lakes team with your new business? You can request an appointment with a business advisor by telling us a bit more about your business. Marco can be reached directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.