EIT graduate launches successful business


Just eighteen months after Napier-based graduate Alarna McKie established her cleaning and pest control business, ValetClean + Pest is expanding.

Alarna’s journey to becoming a successful entrepreneur began in October 2021, when she simultaneously launched her business and started studying towards The New Zealand Certificate in Business (Small Business – Level 4).

“I was a pest control technician for about four years before COVID hit, working up to sixty hours each week. I wanted work-life balance without sacrificing my income, and I decided that being self-employed was my best option,” she said.

While the COVID-19 pandemic caused concern for many small business owners in New Zealand, for Alarna, it was the final push she needed.

“My work hours dropped after the first lockdown, and my income decreased. It was a bit of a no brainer,” she said.

Keen to start her business as she was studying, Alarna decided to use EIT’s online learning service, eCampus NZ, so she could study when it suited her.

As she progressed through her courses, Alarna polished her business plan and learned the ins and outs of small business.

“Studying gave me a foundation in business ownership, marketing, and customer relationship management. I’d already written a business plan to secure finance, but I had the opportunity to develop my plan in my courses,” she said.

She said that learning about legal compliance has saved her start-up costs:

“Understanding it myself means I don’t need to pay for professional support. Cashflow is really important when you’re starting, and this has really helped.”

ValetClean + Pest, which offers a range of commercial and residential services, has gone from strength to strength.  Alarna is currently looking at buying out a competitor and employing a new team member to help her keep up with demand.

Alarna’s determination to succeed is one of the reasons her business is thriving.

“After I made my decision to become self-employed, I made sacrifices and did whatever I needed to do to make it work,” she said.

The eCampus NZ learning platform is being closed on 29 February 2024, as part of the completion of the amalgamation into Open Polytechnic | Te Pūkenga. Therefore, access to courseware for ākonga (learners) will be available for three months post course completion or 29 February 2024, whichever happens first. If you have any questions, please contact eCampus NZ : [email protected] or call 0800 328 269.