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New Zealand’s Incubator Industry given a boost!

New Zealand’s Incubator Industry given a boost!

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise’s recent $2.7 million grant to eleven business incubators will boost the performance of the local industry, according to the national incubator association.

Speaking at the 7th national incubator summit in Hamilton this week, Incubators New Zealand Chair Andrew Hamilton credited the government’s support as providing the momentum for a network of incubators to be established across the country, and believes that the latest level of funding will enable them to continue meeting the international standards that they have already achieved.

“It is important that if we are to achieve our industry’s goal, of producing 20 high-growth export-focussed businesses per annum, that our incubators are realising best practice in incubator management. We are a young industry and we need to learn from overseas experiences. That’s why we have created networks with experts from the US, Canada, Australia, China, Singapore and Europe,” says Mr Hamilton.

Mr Hamilton believes that the increased funding is government’s recognition of the progress that the industry has made. From just two business incubators in 2001, there are now fourteen incubators assisting over one hundred potential high-growth companies at any one time.

“Already we have had 27 companies successfully exit our incubators, with eight of them having achieved ‘high-growth’ status. This means that they have doubled their employees and either achieved revenue of $0.5m during incubation, raised $0.5m in investment or secured post-incubation revenue of $5 million within 3 years of exiting,” says Mr Hamilton.

“The most notable high-growth success stories are Datacol which just this week exited the Canterbury Innovation Incubator, Virtual Katy from Creative HQ which is focused on technology used in the Lord of the Rings and iTools from The ICEHOUSE which is now operating in four regions around the world.”

“We want to achieve even greater results in the future. Completing the strategic plan for the industry led to the creation of Incubators New Zealand in 2003 and a partnership with New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and the Ministry of Economic Development to develop further ‘incubation industry’ initiatives. They have provided a further $0.3m to create programmes aimed at angel investors, training our incubator managers and to run a business plan competition designed to help the national winners attract up to $1 million in early-stage seed funding.”

Business incubators are now seen as a key part of the economic development infrastructure and they are currently assisting 115 companies which have created 117 jobs and have secured $16.6 million of equity.

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