Callaghan Innovation today congratulated the winners of the New Zealand Innovation Awards, many of which are clients of the government innovation agency.
Rocket Lab, which won the Bayer Supreme New Zealand Innovation prize, has been a Callaghan Innovation client since 2013.
In September 2016, it opened the world’s first private orbital launch site on Mahia Peninsula and on May 25 this year, it successfully conducted its first test launch.
Vic Crone, chief executive, says that Callaghan Innovation provided funding to help the Kiwi aerospace company get off the ground and scale.
“Being able to support businesses that are competing on the world stage, like Rocket Lab, brings an immense sense of motivation and pride to our team. We see such world-beating ingenuity and ambition every day in our work with New Zealand businesses to recognise, develop and commercialise the best homegrown ideas.
“Liberating local innovators to realise that potential and help build a more diversified and productive economy is core to our work.”
Peter Beck, Rocket Lab CEO, has acknowledged the importance of Callaghan Innovation’s support.
“The funding towards the development phase of our Electron launch vehicle was critical, allowing us to invest significant capital, time and expertise into developing all our systems in-house.
“The innovations that resulted mean we now have a vehicle with an unprecedented low price, which is highly manufacturable.”
The Innovation Awards featured new ventures, products and services from a broad range of industries and business disciplines: from quiet drones, solar-powered cow collars and smart trampolines to te reo Māori smartphones and ethical corporate workwear.
“We are delighted to have worked with many of the winners,” says Crone.
“Callaghan Innovation is committed to helping Kiwi businesses rise to the challenges of a fast-changing, technologically complex world.
“The pace of technological change is gathering momentum. The businesses that will succeed are the ones that are prepared to disrupt themselves. They can see the great wave of change approaching and they recognise that to get or stay on top, they must innovate,” she says.
“We’re at a pivotal moment in our history. It will take bravery to step into the unknown. Let’s be bold, disrupt the disruptors by being future-focused, and embrace the opportunities this new era will bring to strengthen and diversify New Zealand’s economy.”