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Venture Finance Key for Incubators

Venture Finance Key for Incubators

How to attract venture capital and overcome start-up hurdles will be hot topics for the managers of New Zealand’s 15 business incubators when they gather in Auckland next week.

The focus of the two day summit on 12/13 November is on growing and strengthening the New Zealand incubator industry and sharing best practice.

It will also be a chance for those involved in the New Zealand incubator industry to hear from Peter Hiscocks, the head of the Cambridge Entrepreneurship Centre (CEC) in the United Kingdom.

Formed less than two years ago, the CEC supports and trains people to make new business ventures more successful.

It has played a pivotal role in the development of the University’s increasingly entrepreneurial culture.

The summit is being hosted by the Icehouse, an innovative incubation, education and research organisation aimed at creating, supporting and growing New Zealand companies. The Icehouse is able to host the summit through funding support from Industry New Zealand.

Its Chief Executive, Andrew Hamilton says attracting and maintaining venture capital will be a particular focus of the summit.
“Achieving venture finance is a key requirement for effective growth of many incubated companies.

“As part of these sessions, three of the best incubator companies will present to the summit their stories with scrutiny by two of New Zealand’s leading venture capitalists – Ross George from TMT Advent and Peter Allport from No 8 Ventures.

“The following day these three companies will present at the HP sponsored Technology Investment Network, a forum for the high tech industry and investors.

“Discussions at the summit will also centre around how to best maintain the long-term viability of incubators, and appropriate funding levels required for struggling start-ups.

“In addition, the formation of an incubator association which will lead the development of the industry on behalf of the incubators will be a focus,” he says. The summit concludes with a lunch between incubator managers and the New Zealand Venture Capital Association representatives’ related to the Government’s New Zealand Venture Investment Fund.

Incubators Backgrounder

What is an Incubator?

Incubation is an early stage business mechanism with the goal of accelerating the growth and success of young companies. It aims to support the development of new businesses by providing an array of business resources and services.

An incubator provides: access to capital and financial planning; venture support through business mentoring, strategic planning and access to relevant advisors; a physical environment i.e. professional premises and infrastructure general administration services including legal, financial, project management and market research.

Incubators select their residents on the basis of the growth potential of the business, the competitive advantage the new business is looking to establish and the strength of the knowledge component of the business.

About NZ’s Incubators

There are 15 Incubators in New Zealand, most of which are attached to tertiary institutions. The first to be established (in 1998) were IRL, Wellington and Spark Ventures, Christchurch.

As at September 2002, there were 100 businesses resident within New Zealand incubators employing a total of 330 people. The businesses represent a wide and diverse spectrum of sectors, extending from IT to fashion.

The New Zealand Government provides around $1.5m annually to incubators across the country.

About the Cambridge Entrepreneurship Centre (CEC)

The Cambridge story started in the late 1970s when around 25 knowledge based businesses sprung up around Cambridge. Today there are over 1,500 companies employing some 40,000 people with around 25 new companies being formed every month.

The Cambridge Entrepreneurship Centre was formed in 2000 with Peter Hiscocks as its first Director.

Employing 18 people, the CEC currently supports 76 new business ventures, and has already assisted 13 get venture capital funding.

It has played a pivotal role in the development of the entrepreneurial culture of the University since its establishment.

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