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Thinking Cactus to launch Global Business Day

Christchurch based start-up Thinking Cactus to launch Global Business Incubation Day with animation

Monday the 8th of December 2008 will see the first ever global celebration of innovation and entrepreneurship through business incubation.

Whilst the event is the brainchild of UK Business Incubation (UKBI), Thinking Cactus, a Christchurch based and Canterbury Innovation Incubator (Cii) client, has been chosen to open the day with an animation specially created to explain what business incubation is and to spotlight New Zealand’s own incubation community.

Commenting on the event Amanda Lennon, previously a member of UKBI and now manager of Cii said:

“After our initial discussions with UKBI we proposed that, as the day starts here, perhaps the event should too! It was rather cheeky really and whilst we’ve always had a great relationship with our British colleagues, we didn’t honestly expect them to agree to us hijacking the launch of their event.”

Although the process of business incubation has been utilised to stimulate, regenerate and revitalise economies across the globe for 50 years, never before have practitioners and supporters all focused on one day to detail how they are growing businesses for the future.

There are 60 countries participating with events including the official opening of new business incubation environments, webcasts, virtual conferences, open days and other celebrations.

Billy Chang of Thinking Cactus commented on the event:

"It was an honour to take part in such a cool event, not to mention a good chance to show off our technology. ZenCub3d allowed three amateur animators to make this short film in a few days, rather than the typical few months it would have taken professionals with other systems."

“In addition, our business has really benefitted from the support we’ve received from Cii so we were happy to get involved and explain what it all means to everyone.”

The animation, funded by Incubators New Zealand and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise will be uploaded onto YouTube, promoted on all NZ incubator websites and the UKBI website, in addition to as many social networking sites as is possible.

It explains both the New Zealand business support landscape and gives a humorous explanation of the incubation process with two animated characters trying to retail T-shirts. One is clearly a huge success – you’ll need to watch to find out which one – but no prizes for guessing!

International research has shown that 97% of businesses incubated are still trading and growing after 3 years as compared to less than 50% of the total number of new business starts over the same period. Business incubation processes are applicable to all types of businesses, from technology transfer coming out of university research to job creation in economically deprived areas, as well as to social enterprises where profit maximisation is not the prime consideration.

Graham Ross Russell, chairman of UKBI, comments:

“Encouraging the creation and growth of small companies is an important aspect of the action that is needed to counter the effects of the recession which we are now entering. Business incubation is an important tool in achieving this, and deserves strong support from the Government, the Regional Development Authorities and Local Authorities.”

As part of his plans to revitalise the US economy, new president Barrack Obama, has stated that they intend to spend $250 million annually on increasing the number and size of business incubators in the US.

Increased support has recently incurred in New Zealand with the Government providing an additional $1.8 million per annum to business incubators through New Zealand Trade and Enterprise’s Incubator Support Programme.

The purpose of Global Business Incubation Day is to raise the profile of business incubation, which is a range of processes that can be used to help small companies survive and grow, such as product and market validation, strategy development, mentoring, networking, access to workspace and, importantly, to finance.

Companies can access these processes in a business incubator, but it is the incubation processes which are important, not the building, and so some companies can benefit from ‘virtual incubation’ without ever being a ‘physical’ tenant in a business incubator.

To get a sneak preview of the animation visit www.incubators.org.nz

Media contact:
Amanda Lennon, Canterbury Innovation Incubator & powerHouse Ventures Ltd
Tel: 03 366 0261
Email: amanda.lennon@powerhouse-ventures.co.nz
Website: www.cii.co.nz


FURTHER INFORMATION

About Incubators New Zealand
Incubators in New Zealand are organisations that give fledgling entrepreneurs an opportunity to develop their innovative ideas and set up new businesses in order to commercialise them. The entrepreneurs' term of activity in the incubator considerably enhances their prospects of raising the financial investment they need, finding strategic partners, and emerging from the incubator with businesses that can stand on their own two feet.

Incubators New Zealand was established in 2003 as an industry body and charged with driving and guiding the development of incubation. The association is tasked with providing New Zealand’s regional incubators with the tools, capability and networks to significantly increase their chances of growing the next wave of Kiwi start-up entrepreneurs.

Canterbury Innovation Incubator (Cii)
Cii is one of New Zealand’s leading business incubation facilities, established to accelerate the growth of emerging high technology companies in Canterbury.
The main objectives of Cii for Canterbury are to:
 provide a regional resource to grow high technology companies
 commercialise IP through company start-up
 provide a networking hub
 provide a link between research institutions and the private sector
 facilitate investment in technology companies via powerHouse it’s investment fund
 attract and retain knowledge and skills
Located in central Christchurch, Cii also provides office space and facilities, with the capacity to support from 16 to 24 companies.
Thinking Cactus Ltd
ThinkingCactus is an animation software company that allows individuals without filmmaking or animation background to make 3D animations quickly, easily and to have fun whilst doing it. Currently a free beta version of their animation software, ZenCub3d, is available for download from www.thinkingcactus.com and www.zencub3d.com

Located in Canterbury Innovation Incubator in Christchurch, the company has three founders who are working fulltime on developing the ZenCub3d animation software.

UK Business Incubation (UKBI)
UK Business Incubation (UKBI) is a not for profit company, started 10 years ago with HM Treasury and private sector sponsorship, and its role is to act as a catalyst in encouraging the creation of sustainable startups and the growth of small companies, both at the hi- tech end of the economy and in economically deprived areas. When it started its work in 1998 there were 25 business incubators in UK, and there are now around 300.

Extract from Barrack Obama and Joe Bidens plan for small business:
Create a National Network of Public-Private Business Incubators: Barack Obama and Joe Biden will support entrepreneurship and spur job growth by creating a national network of public-private business incubators. Business incubators facilitate the critical work of entrepreneurs in creating start-up companies. They offer help designing business plans, provide physical space, identify and address problems affecting all small businesses within a given community, and give advice on a wide range of business practices, including reducing overhead costs. Business incubators will engage the expertise and resources of local institutions of higher education and successful private sector businesses to help ensure that small businesses have both a strong plan and the resources for long-term success. Obama and Biden will invest $250 million per year to increase the number and size of incubators in disadvantaged communities throughout the country.

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