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Industry NZ's first ‘Venture Forum’ a huge success

Press Release: Industry New Zealand
26 September 2002

Enthusiastic Debate on Commercialising Intellectual Property

Industry New Zealand’s first “Venture Forum’ a huge success

Over 100 people attended Industry New Zealand’s first ever Venture Forum held last Wednesday night in Dunedin. The Venture Forums are a new Industry New Zealand initiative designed to provoke thinking and action on topical business issues.

Industry New Zealand Board Member and Forum facilitator, Bridget Wickham, says discussions were centred on the theme of the Forum: “Commercialising Intellectual Property’. “Everyone - including panel members, presenters and the audience - had definite views on the subject. Business leaders, educationalists and local government from throughout the Otago region attended. It was an excellent result.”

Ms Wickham says she was very encouraged by the level of audience participation and vigorous discussion on the theme. “You could tell people were really committed to finding out ways we can improve on our ability to turn ideas into profitable business opportunities.

“One of the key out-takes of the Forum was that research units, businesses and the government need to work closer together to ensure ideas reach full commercialisation. People in business commented that universities had huge untapped potential when it came to generating new ideas. Whereas representatives from universities commented that businesses didn’t always have suitable structures in place for them to be able to sell their intellectual property.”

Key points raised during discussions included:

- The need for a higher level of investment in research, science and technology to significantly improve New Zealand’s economic performance

- The importance of business getting closer to research ideas at the early stage of their development

- What can be done to ensure the generators of intellectual property work more closely with business and venture capital

- The need for structures and incentives to maximise opportunities for universities to capture and protect portfolios of intellectual property

- The low standard of patent protection in New Zealand posing a risk to the development of a vibrant biotech industry

- Consideration of a reduction in compliance costs.

Ms Wickham says critical to developing an enterprise culture in New Zealand is having the opportunity to debate and discuss key business issues. “The Venture Forum is an important part of Industry New Zealand’s ongoing dialogue on the subject of enterprise. That debate continues on-line where summaries of Venture Forum presentations, panellist comments, and audience discussions can be found.”

The Venture Forum is online on the Industry New Zealand website www.industrynz.govt.nz/venture-forum.

“People have a clear understanding that to create true wealth we need more world-class businesses. Industry New Zealand is addressing that economic need through a variety of initiatives designed to develop and foster an Enterprise Culture,” says Ms Wickham.

Venture Forum presenters and panel members in Dunedin were:

- Professor Dick Bellamy, Dean of Science, University of Auckland

- Ross Brown, Chief Executive, Aotea Jones Group Ltd, Dunedin

- Stuart McKenzie, Quest VC Ltd, Dunedin

- Dr Ian Smith, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of Otago

- Dr Max Shepherd, Zenith Technology Corporation Ltd, Dunedin

- Neal Wallace, Agri-business Editor, Otago Daily Times

- Paul Frater, General Manager Strategic Direction, Industry New Zealand

- Dr Julian Williams, Principal Adviser for the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology.

Ms Wickham says the Dunedin Venture Forum is the first of many to be held around the country. “Each Forum will have a specific topic for discussion based on a lead story featured in a recent issue of Industry New Zealand’s Venture Magazine.

“The Venture Forums are part of our commitment to inform, foster and develop New Zealanders’ attitudes to enterprise, business growth and business success,” says Ms Wickham.

The Dunedin Venture Forum was held on Wednesday 18 September 2002 at The Savoy Conference Centre in Dunedin.

ENDS

Editor’s note

Industry New Zealand was set up by the Government in September 2000 as New Zealand’s economic development agency.

Venture Forum serves as a vehicle for Industry New Zealand’s dialogue on the subject of enterprise. The Forums provide participants with the opportunity to debate and discuss topical business issues critical to developing an enterprise culture in New Zealand. The topic for each Forum is selected from a recent issue of Venture Magazine.

The Venture Forums are part of Industry New Zealand’s commitment to inform, foster and develop New Zealanders’ attitudes to enterprise, business growth and business success.


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