Vodafone New Zealand has launched a new accelerator initiative designed to help Kiwi start-ups and SMEs go global.
The Vodafone xone programme aims to support New Zealand businesses in the research and commercialisation of world-class technology.
“We have some of the brightest entrepreneurial minds in this country and they’ve got global ambition,” says Matt Williams, Vodafone’s consumer director and the Advisory Board Chairman of xone.
“Vodafone is passionate about innovation and technology in New Zealand and is committed to helping businesses achieve global success,” he says.
Opening in May 2016, Vodafone xone will join six other xone programmes already operating around the globe. It will have a physical presence inside Vodafone’s $50 million purpose-built HQ, located within Christchurch’s innovation precinct.
“Through Vodafone xone, we will offer New Zealand’s best and brightest unparalleled access to Vodafone’s vast global network and expertise, providing a clear path to overseas markets from day one,” Williams explains.
Up to 10 companies will be chosen to take part in Vodafone xone’s first six-month programme, with a second round to commence in 2017.
According to Williams, participants will receive access to world-class advisors, a collaborative working space, and al seed funding of $25,000, a total package valued at more than $150,000.
“Vodafone xone will also be of high value to firms not in the accelerator programme, including other start-ups, SMEs and larger businesses, through access to the Vodafone xone Innovation Technology Lab for R&D,” Williams adds.
Government agency Callaghan Innovation has partnered with the Vodafone xone programme, committing $900,000 over the next three years.
Vodafone xone is open to businesses from all around New Zealand, offering founder-friendly terms, Williams says.
Applications are open to a broad range of ideas in technology innovation including, but not limited to the Internet of Things, mobile health, education and commerce, big data and smart homes and cities. Agriculture will also be a key focus for Vodafone xone, with Vodafone already being a partner of the Innovation Centre at Fieldays.