The second annual Technology Valley Awards launched this week at the Dowse Art Museum at a special breakfast function, and promises to be ‘bigger and better’ than last year's event.
Technology Valley is focused on growing more high-tech jobs in the Hutt, while building on existing strengths and showcasing current efforts.
According to Chris Bishop, National List MP based in the Hutt Valley, 3,900 people across more than 825 Lower Hutt businesses are employed full-time in the high-tech sector.
Furthermore, the sector generates $473 million in GDP already, and Lower Hutt has the fourth largest number of people in NZ employed in medium high-tech manufacturing. An event such as this highlights the importance of high-tech businesses and the Hutt Valley region, he says.
Bishop says, “I am always blown away by the amazing companies we have in the Hutt based on science, technology, and innovation. With two Crown Research Institutes, two tertiary institutions, as well as the Government’s new high-tech HQ, Callaghan Innovation, all based in the Hutt, our potential is huge."
“The Technology Valley Awards are a great way to shine a light on this very important part of our local economy, and help showcase the innovation here in the Hutt.
"They will highlight leaders and high-achievers in our community who will grow the Hutt’s reputation for innovation and inventiveness. They celebrate the abundance of talent in science, engineering and mathematics in the Hutt and provide an opportunity to recognise those making the greatest contributions," he says.
Ray Wallace, Hutt City mayor, says, “We have such a wealth of talent in the STEMM sectors here in the Hutt Valley, and it’s really important to recognise that - it’s great for the people and businesses that are recognised and it’s inspiring for the rest of us.
“Technology Valley is an exciting vision. It means fresh thinking, an entrepreneurial spirit and strong education and expertise. It creates wealth for our city, and excellent opportunities for our workforce.”
Prime Minister John Key presented the first two awards at the inaugural Technology Valley Awards last year, and spoke of the significance of the science and technology sector, recognising the Hutt Valley’s strength in this.
For its second year, the Technology Valley Awards will be presented at a gala dinner on June 9 during Lower Hutt’s STEMM Festival (4 - 12 June). New categories have also been included to recognise more businesses and people involved in the technology sector.
“Building on the success of last year, the 2016 awards include an expanded list of categories including opportunities for individuals, businesses, projects, educators and students,” Bishop says.
This year's nine categories are: STEMM Project of the Year, Emerging Individual, Outstanding Individual, Emerging Business of the Year, Business of the Year, Young Science Achiever (primary or intermediate students), Young Science Achiever (secondary students), Outstanding STEMM Educator (primary or intermediate), and Outstanding STEMM Educator (tertiary or community).
The Awards are supported by Technology Valley, a collective of organisations and individuals working together to strengthen the Hutt Valley as a leader in science and technology.