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Funding to accelerate growth of Innovators Online

Funding to accelerate growth of Innovators Online Network

The Innovators Online Network (ION) has received a New Zealand Trade and Enterprise grant of just over $12,000 to expand its support of new high technology ventures.

ION is an online network and forum established in 2002 for innovators, entrepreneurs and business mentors after a Waikato Management School research project found small and medium sized enterprises in the high technology sector needed “virtual networking”.

Its focus is kick-starting collaborative ventures between growth-phase technology enterprises and business partners, mentors and investors.

ION project manager Paul Spence says the Enterprise Culture Skills and Activities Fund grant from New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE), will help accelerate New Zealand technology innovation by enabling ION to expand substantially this year.

“Last year was an excellent first year for ION. We generated a number of successful introductions between small technology ventures and business people from here and overseas. Plus the online public discussion forum is an ongoing source of debate and learning around the topics of innovation and entrepreneurship in New Zealand,” Mr Spence says.

The grant will be used to strengthen links between ION and MBA programmes and business schools in New Zealand and overseas. It will also enable ION to reach more of New Zealand’s emerging technology businesses, he says.

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise General Manager of Marketing, Julian Moore, says the Enterprise Culture and Skills Activities (ECSA) Fund is one of the organisation’s initiatives to help create a New Zealand culture that supports and celebrates entrepreneurs and business success. It is a contestable fund focused on seed funding and piloting new and innovative approaches to developing enterprising skills and attitudes among New Zealanders.

“New Zealand’s future economic success will be underpinned by the success of our entrepreneurs and businesses, as business success is vital to improving New Zealand’s standard of living and future prosperity,” he says.

“ION is an excellent example of a new approach to providing entrepreneurs with vital support in developing good ideas into sustainable, internationally-competitive businesses. NZTE is delighted to be able to facilitate its further development via the ECSA Fund grant.”

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