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Central Energy Trust Launches Fund to Benefit Start-ups

Central Energy Trust Launches Fund to Benefit Start-up Businesses
Official Press Release

The Central Energy Trust has announced the creation of a Seed Fund of $500,000 to be administered through the BCC as part of a major effort to promote growth in Palmerston North and the wider Manawatu region.

It is anticipated the Fund will assist in encouraging the creation of a number of new start-up businesses in the Manawatu region with ongoing economic value and the creation of new employment opportunities.

The BCC has partnered the Central Energy Trust to manage and administer the fund that will help local high-growth projects that have reached a critical seeding stage of development.

The Central Energy Trust's $500,000 contribution will be supplemented by further funding from other investors, government sources and MIG Angels, the BCC's investment wing.

The Central Energy Trust Seeding Fund is based on a successful investment model that's been operating effectively in Israel for several years. BCC's Chief Executive, Dean Tilyard, studied the model in Israel and has modified it for New Zealand conditions.

"The funding will be used as very early stage seed investment in promising commercial technology based companies. Because of risks associated with seed funding, it's hard for young technology companies to attract investment," Dean says.

"In the past young companies have failed or grown very slowly and missed their opportunity. This has been tragic for a region like the Manawatu which is rich in technology and research. However, with a structured seed funding, that opportunity will no longer be lost."

The model impressed Central Energy Trust trustees who decided to actively support it by the creation of a special seeding fund of sufficient substance to get more early stage projects underway as quickly as possible.

Central Energy Trust Trustee, Sir Brian Elwood said "We thought the proposal was excellent. We were delighted with the approach, the thinking behind it and the forward planning involved. All it needed was a shot in the arm to give it momentum," Sir Brian says.

Subject to the satisfaction of any application, the Trust will pledge $500,000 over three years to a maximum of $200,000 in any given year. A successful project will receive up to $100,000.

Dean Tilyard describes the Fund as "huge for the BCC and the development of start-up businesses in the Manawatu. This partnership is a unique development for New Zealand and recognises the contribution the BCC is making in the development of businesses regionally," he says.

Sir Brian Elwood sees the Fund's objective as helping people with sound ideas but who lack the necessary capital to get underway with a start-up pathway.

"From our perspective the best outcome will be several start-up enterprises leading to the development of the Manawatu economy and the creation of new employment opportunities," he says. "It's one of the Trust's objectives to allocate grants to assist economic growth, business development and employment opportunities of benefit to the community.

"Within the greater Manawatu we have the brains, the research capabilities and the right locations to take advantage of the new economic and financial climate which has emerged from the current world financial crisis."

The Fund will be launched on November 9 and interested companies or individuals should contact the BCC.

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