More funding for SODA Inc

NARELLE HENSON
Last updated 05:00 10/07/2014

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SODA Inc has secured increased funding from Callaghan Innovation and will grow its support for local startups over the next three years.

The business incubator has just finished negotiations for funding from the Callaghan Innovation Incubator Support Programme. The amount will remain confidential until the contracts have all been signed, however the organisation has confirmed it will be expanding its staff on the back on the new allocation.

SODA's chair Graham Gaylard said the funding was an indication of the Government's faith in SODA.

"The funding will be put towards SODA's operational expenses associated with administration, high quality mentors, services to high-growth and early-stage ventures, the development of investor networks, regional collaboration for early-stage company support and initiatives that build the Waikato's entrepreneurial ecosystem," said Gaylard.

SODA business growth manager Petr Adamek said it has been a busy six months with a huge volume of inquiries for SODA's services and the growth of two major SODA-run events - the Innes48 Business Startup Competition and The Fieldays Innovation Den.

"We are thrilled to say that, this year, we have put over 170 founders, entrepreneurs and business leaders through workshops, have worked in-depth with over 60 startups, and have accepted four startups on to SODA's incubation programme.

"Our target at this stage is to work intensively with eight startups per year in our programmes, so we are tracking well," he said.

Callaghan Innovation's Incubator Support Programme offers support and funding to two types of business incubators, existing founder-focused incubator models such as SODA, and the new technology focused incubators.

Group manager of grants at Callaghan Innovation, Norman Evans, said that its Incubator Support Programme aimed to get more startups off the ground. In turn, they would generate employment growth, commercialise intellectual property and grow emerging sectors.

The pilot repayable grants programme for incubators has been allocated $31.3 million over four years.

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- Waikato Times

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