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Collaboration promotes Kiwi tech in Texas

A unique collaboration between the private and public sectors will help promote Kiwi tech innovation, recruit investors and attract qualified specialists at next month’s South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas.

The New Zealand Technology Industry Association (NZTech) is teaming up with Immigration New Zealand, NZTE and a number of Kiwi tech companies to showcase New Zealand’s third largest and fastest growing sector - technology – by targeting what many consider to be the most epic gathering of creative minds and innovative talent gathered in the one place on earth.

South by South West (SXSW) has evolved over the past 25 years from an alternative music festival into a global conference for everyone involved in the world of interactive digital technologies, film, music and business.
The SXSW Trade Show is at the heart of SXSW. The four-day show celebrates the organisations that define the ever-evolving relationship between media, technology, creatives and consumers.

World-acclaimed Weta Digital will help design the on-stand experience to ensure New Zealand’s presence is maximised through high impact visual graphics.

Organisers have confirmed close to 300 exhibitors and are forecasting around 70,000 people to attend during the four days of the trade show from 8-12 March in Austin, Texas.

“SXSW offers an ideal opportunity to showcase New Zealand’s digital technology capabilities and reinforce our position as a fast-growing digital nation,” says David Downs, NZTE’s General Manager, Services. Attracting quality talent is one of the fundamental aims of NZTE’s digital technology high impact programme.

Mr Downs says that growth of our technology sector is vital for the future of New Zealand’s economy.

Already a number of Kiwi tech firms have signed up to travel to SXSW and NZTech Chief Executive Officer Candace Kinser is urging others to join the delegation.

Ms. Kinser, who originally hails from Austin, says SXSW is a smart way of showcasing New Zealand as a country for top technologists to live and work, and showcasing the fabulous innovation that has been launched onto the global stage.

She says, “The tech sector needs investment in the form of seed capital and growth capital to help our growing companies scale. Educating investors on the opportunities for investing in Kiwi innovation is also a key objective for attending SXSW.”

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) General Manager, Steve McGill, says INZ’s presence recognises the need to be innovative when targeting the global talent that New Zealand needs to grow.

“Immigration helps build a stronger New Zealand economy and create jobs by encouraging innovation, deepening our links with international markets and providing the skills and capital we need for growth,” says Steve.

“To enable this, we realise we have to do things a little differently to attract the right people. That’s why we’re at SXSW in person with our partners NZTech and NZTE to fly the New Zealand flag and encourage people to be part of the Kiwi tech sector as workers or investors.”

The growing gap of skilled and qualified talent to fill available jobs in the rapidly expanding technology sector is behind this latest mission to the US. A recent NZTech member survey suggests that technology companies in New Zealand will be requiring up to 15,000 more people to fill roles over the next three years and there’s simply not enough qualified people available in New Zealand.

There are more than 40,000 people employed in the sector, but with annual growth rates exceeding any other sector (+16.5% CAGR) the biggest challenge to maintain that growth is finding sufficiently skilled and experienced talent.

INZ will provide information to stand visitors about living, working and investing in New Zealand, and will create a special database of people interested in working here for sharing with the tech sector employers and recruiters. Workhere NZ will also be on hand to promote job opportunities in the New Zealand tech sector and together with INZ, will promote the upcoming TechConnect online recruitment event.

Technology firms are being offered a choice of three packages to participate and Ms. Kinser is inviting tech companies to apply by the 26th of February.


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