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First Ever Annual 'Cluster Muster' Party

First Ever Annual 'Cluster Muster' Party kicks off 29 August


Hollywood party host whips up networking opportunity with a difference for Canterbury cluster members

Christchurch, 18 August 2003 - As new industry clusters emerge across the nation, few will dispute that networking is key to business development. Clusters are proving increasing success in helping business to get the knowledge and resources they need to fast track their wares to market.

Which is why devoted committee member of Canterbury Software Inc (CSi), Kim Ryan, is taking the cluster concept one step further. She is revving up cross-industry networking and ideas fertilisation amongst all cluster members with a first-ever 'Cluster Muster' fancy dress party.

Supporting local businesses, CDC, local government agencies, CSi members, and other cluster organisers are all giving Kim a helping hand to rustle up a cluster network explosion that will nuke any W32 Blaster Gate-crash into yesterday's worm dust!

The aim is pure and simple - to encourage industry clusters to network with each other and generate more export business for New Zealand.

The Cluster Muster will be held on 29 August at the Canterbury Innovation Incubator (Cii) on 200 Armagh Street. It is strictly by ticket entry only, which will be sold on a first come first served basis. Cluster members can email kim.ryan@gui.co.nz for ticket enquiries.

Few in the local tech industry have forgotten Kim's zany 'Hollywood' party where local keyboard junkies were metamorphosed into flamboyant screen stars. Now Garry Moore's tall poppy award winner and former director of mediaFX is at it again. This time mustering a cluster storm to launch what is hoped to be an annual cross-industry cluster event.

In Canterbury there are clusters for software companies, electronics manufacturers, fashion and design houses, neutraceuticals, and more.

"These clusters companies are coming together and finding they can win bigger off-shore contracts and provide each other with ever valuable staffing resource. The Canterbury Software Cluster has brought together a lot of smaller IT companies allowing them to compete with medium and large IT companies overseas," says Ryan.

When she is not organising cluster events, Kim Ryan heads up GUI - a creative IT service division of Unify Group that specialises in interactive applications. She believes that 'real' business in Canterbury stems purely from word of mouth.

"Many of us are managing to sell our services and products off-shore and significantly add to export earnings simply due to the 'fast tracking' that cluster membership provides. If someone in a cluster group has already done it then the methods, processes, contacts, etc. are all freely passed on, such as IP issues, distributing off-shore, sample contacts, agreements, and so on. It means that a company can get to export readiness in super-quick time. And it's reliant on the generosity and unselfishness of the other members. Everyone benefits from everyone else's success and experience," she explained.

"Yes, we're all competitors indirectly or directly, but instead of shafting each other we're working together in these 'Clusters' and leveraging of each others successes. What's probably most surprising is that we are very open about our failures and sometime colossal mistakes, often pointing out them out in the hope that it may save another business from suffering in the way."

"My idea for the Cluster Muster party stemmed from the Hollywood party that we held in Dec 2001. We had over 400+ IT people, all in costume and the amount of people that developed business relationships there in those few hours was phenomenal. I often come across people who went to that event and they only know each other by what the other was wearing - instantly barriers are down, people are relaxed and smiling as they remember the person they're about to do business with, they already knew, but as 'Elvis' or Marilyn Monroe!"

For ticket enquiries and further information about the Cluster Muster please contact:

Kim Ryan, GUI

Email kim.ryan@gui.co.nz

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