Plan to boost NZ high tech companies

CATHERINE HARRIS
Last updated 16:59 12/03/2014

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The Government is looking to create an expanded network of business incubators, with extra support for those devoted to technology.

Callaghan Innovation, the Crown entity charged with linking businesses with research and funding resources, has issued a request for proposals looking to appoint network members.

They would run traditional "founder-focused" incubators or be interested in running technology incubators.

Callaghan Innovation's general manager of accelerator services, Chris Somogyi, said: "New Zealand has not been creating enough high-value companies."

The technology-type incubators would be privately owned but would mostly focus on commercialising intellectual property from publicly funded organisations like universities and Crown research institutes, he said.

The creation of the new-tech incubators and a repayable grant for tech start-ups was a significant step forward, encouraging a more sophisticated approach to forming start-ups.

"This in turn will support the growth of emerging sectors and technologies and foster entrepreneurship," he said.

The pilot repayable grants programme has been allocated more than $31 million over four years and involves the Government contributing up to $450,000 over two years to eligible companies in tech incubators.

The incubator owners will need to provide at least $150,000 to gain access to the full amount.

Callaghan Innovation said its move followed extensive consultation with the start-up support community and international experts, including Israel's leading thinker on technology incubators, Oren Gershtein.

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- Fairfax Media

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