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Waikato Innovation Park business growth strong despite dairy downturn

Businesses based at the Waikato Innovation Park have reported strong growth and financial results, despite a downturn in the dairy industry, according to a new report.

The Innovation Park’s annual tenant survey reveals the gross turnover of all Park tenants in 2016 was more than $427 million, up 42% from $300M in 2015. This reflects an upward annual trend with $188M reported in 2014 and $155M in 2013.

“Businesses based at Waikato Innovation Park make a significant contribution to the regional and national economy, and that contribution is growing year-on-year,” says Waikato Innovation Park CEO Stuart Gordon.

“Waikato Innovation Park is a hub for innovation and our tenants work in agricultural, environmental and information technology as well as food processing, research and development, communications, human resources and food science, to name but a few areas,” he explains.

 “It’s a great place to do business.”

According to the report, compared to the national average, Park companies are significantly more likely to be exporting their products or services overseas and to be engaged in research and development.

Some findings from the report:

  • Some 68% of Park tenants were actively exporting their products or services overseas in 2016, compared to 30% nationally.
  • Some 61% of Park tenants were engaged in research and development last year, compared to 14% nationally.
  • Some 20% of Park tenants reported job growth in 2016, compared to just two per cent of companies nationally.

Last year Waikato Innovation Park was home to 46 tenants. There were 562 people working at the Park, a growth of 17% since 2015. A further 1049 staff were employed by Park businesses, based elsewhere in New Zealand or overseas. Many of the businesses at the Park are small businesses – more than half of those surveyed (54%) said they had less than 10 employees.

Gordon says the Waikato Innovation Park was a collaborative environment, and more than one-third of Park businesses reported collaborating for work.

“There is an amazing synergy and buzz about working at Waikato Innovation Park,” he says.

“People enjoy being here. They can catch up over coffee at our on-site cafe, or bump into each other while walking across the campus between buildings. Ideas and collaboration happens everywhere,” explains Gordon.

Gordon says the Park site is earmarked for further growth, with a masterplan that includes expansion of the campus’ innovation and research precinct and its food and technical development centre.

The current site has four buildings, and 16 buildings are envisioned in the masterplan. A multifunctional, dynamic meeting space for visitors and employees is proposed as a hub at the heart of the Park.

“The survey results reaffirm our vision and strategic direction for the Park,” says Gordon.

“Happy tenants and a collaborative, innovative working environment add up to a business community that plays an important role in the economic development of the wider Waikato region.”

Almost all of the Park’s 72 businesses – 96% of them – responded to the survey.

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