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New Zealand's hi-tech start-ups, going from strength to strength

22 Jul 15

It has been a successful year for Kiwi start-ups involved in Callaghan Innovation’s Technology Incubator Programme, says Steven Joyce, Science and Innovation Minister.

Callaghan Innovation was established in 2013 to support science and technology-based innovation and its commercialisation by businesses, in order to improve their growth and competitiveness.

The Technology Incubator Programme has so far approved funding of $7.8 million for 18 hi-tech companies through the repayable loan scheme, with each receiving up to $450,000 over two years.

The technologies invested in cover the ICT, sensing and automation, food and beverage technology, advanced material, design and manufacturing, and biotech industries.

“The incubators programme is an important part of growing new industries for New Zealand in areas like ICT and hi-tech manufacturing,” Joyce says.

“Some of the proposals have the potential to dramatically disrupt a variety of sectors in the global market. For example one of the technologies, which aims to reduce the cost of water removal and recovery, could be a game changer worldwide.

“Cost reduction in this process could have global implications for the cost of a range of everyday products.”

Joyce says, “Technological breakthroughs such as these are why the scheme exists. Growing many more new companies in our hi-tech sector is crucial to maintaining a strong diversified economy.”

Technology-focused incubators are privately-owned businesses that concentrate on commercialising complex intellectual property sourced primarily from publicly funded research organisations such as universities and Crown research institutes.

They are modelled on the successful Israeli incubator system and include Powerhouse Ventures, Astrolab and WNT Ventures.

Cabinet agreed in Budget 2013 to allocate $31.3 million in new funding over four years for the repayable grants. Government funding is matched 1:3 by incubator owners contributing up to $150,000.

The grants will be repayable out of each company’s revenue.

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