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Entrepreneurs Have Much To Celebrate In New Budget

UNITEC’s New Zealand Centre for Innovation & Entrepreneurship hails the Government’s 2001 budget. “This budget is a watershed in the transformation of New Zealand to an export-driven value-added economy”, said Centre Director Howard Frederick

"Any government committed to economic progress must ensure that it supports increased levels of successful entrepreneurship", said Gael McDonald, Dean of UNITEC's Faculty of Business. "We believe this budget will help small firms and individual entrepreneurs. It will lead to increased prosperity through job and wealth creation".

"The Government has adopted what can only be seen 'our programme', namely that we must back our innovators and entrepreneurs through incentives and education if we are to transform New Zealand into a knowledge society", added Dr. Frederick, New Zealand's only professor for innovation and entrepreneurship.

Frederick believes that New Zealand is about to embark on a new era of growth which will initially halt and then reverse the brain drain of its most talented people – its innovative, and well trained young people – whose return to this country, with their overseas experience and contacts, will still further enhance the country’s exciting growth prospects.

According to the Centre, New Zealand has one of the highest rates of entrepreneurship in the world, but there’s a disparity between a high start-up activity and a modest success rate. This budget helps fill that gap.

NZCIE's analysis points to initiatives in the 2001 budget that will greatly assist export-driven entrepreneurs offering high-tech products and value-added services. There are numerous programs in the budget that stimulate investment in the entrepreneurial sector, according to the Centre:

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· The New Zealand Venture Investment Fund is the start of a new era of growth. It represents global best-practice in seed-stage and start-up stage financing that will lead to a rapid increase in internationally marketable products, processes and services.

· The Government’s regional development programmes will assist innovative businesses in New Zealand’s emerging technology clusters, assistance for high growth companies for export opportunities, and help for Trade New Zealand to develop major investment funds.

· The Government’s proposed National Innovation Strategy to be developed by the Science and Innovation Advisory Council (SIAC) will underpin Innovation & Entrepreneurship.

· The 'brain gain' initiative will help identify and network with New Zealanders around the world who are world class thinkers and who can assist our local entrepreneurs.

· There is even a small amount in the 2001 budget to promote a culture of enterprise and increase the number of New Zealanders willing to turn their ideas into commercial ventures.

· The tripling of support for business incubator development will help small innovative firms meet the challenges of the new economy marketplace through such best-practice institutions as UNITEC's own Venture Accelerator (Incubator).

· New national Centres of Research Excellence will produce world-class research that contributes to New Zealand's economic and social development. We believe that one of those Centres of Excellence will be in Innovation & Entrepreneurship. Similarly Centres of Excellence should be established for sectors in which New Zealand has already proven its international competitiveness by success in export, such as Dairying, Tourism, Communications, Software, Bio-technology, and Film.

· Hefty increases for New Economy Research Fund (NERF) and the Marsden Fund will support research that explores the new frontiers of knowledge

The primary mission for UNITEC's New Zealand Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship is to develop business entrepreneurs within New Zealand, with a vision of creating a high level of economic well being through wealth generation and technological innovation. It operates a Venture Accelerator (Incubator) and has launched a successful new Master of Business Innovation & Entrepreneurship, the country’s first degree in wealth creation. It also conducts research comparing New Zealand’s entrepreneurial activity with other nations.

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