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Summit On Hard Facts About Canterbury Software

Press release:
Canterbury Software Incorporated, Christchurch, New Zealand
11 October 2004

Summit to present hard facts about Canterbury software firms' could-do-better export figures

Provides open forum for software companies to confront and debate all export issues, and to establish strategies that will enable industry to deal with them better.

On 20 October Canterbury Software Incorporated (CSI), New Zealand's most successful regional cluster of software companies, is holding the first export-focussed summit since it was established three years ago.

At the event, findings of a recent comprehensive survey of Canterbury software firms will be presented and open for discussion, scrutiny and decisive action.

Jane Montgomery, CSI Chairperson says, "Canterbury Software has worked hard to tailor the summit's programme to address the specific needs of our members. We expect that software companies will get an enormous benefit from participating in the summit and from the special interest groups that will develop".

The report, commissioned by the CSI and supported by the Canterbury Development Corporation, sheds light on why Canterbury software firms are dragging their heals when it comes to exporting.

It also reveals startling insights into current needs and difficulties faced by the local software industry, and recommends a set of immediate actions that will help companies understand how to deal with the issues better. Issues such as establishing channel networks, credibility and raising the necessary capital to expand into target export markets.

"Canterbury Software companies have shown time and again the ability to think ahead of the rest of the world, leading the way in developing new products/services or finding new ways of applying existing technology to new uses. If we can enhance management and marketing capability to match our technical prowess, we can significantly increase our export earnings and the sector's contribution to New Zealand's GDP," said survey author and CSI Facilitator James Saruchera.

Software firms in the Canterbury region currently generate over $180 million in total turnover. While expectations are that this will rise by 28% next year, this growth could be significantly better with increased export revenue.

Ninety percent of Canterbury's software firms employ less than 10 people, with 60% exporting to varying degrees. Just 6% of Canterbury software firms generate over $2M in revenue. The report blames below standard export strategies, lack of competitor research, and difficulties in establishing distribution and reseller channels.

"CSI has a role to play in preparing companies to take advantage of market opportunities and developing relationships locally and abroad to help companies succeed globally," continued Mr Saruchera.

"To achieve a quantum leap in economic growth for the region, the challenge for Canterbury software firms is to increase the proportion of export output. Presently more than half of these firms export less than 30% of their turnover."

After the survey is presented industry panellists will provide overviews of their experience, including trials and tribulations, in getting their software to market. Workgroup discussions will then be held to pool ideas and resources in a collaborative effort to resolve the issues raised.

The summit will be held at the Canterbury Innovation Incubator on 200 Armagh Street on Wednesday 20 October from 12.45pm to 5.40pm. This will be followed by drinks and networking till 7.30 pm.

About CSI Canterbury Software Inc (CSI) is a non-profit organisation aimed at helping the Canterbury software sector succeed at home and worldwide. This cluster of small-to-medium Canterbury and other South Island companies works to facilitate strong foundations for commercial success in world-class software products and services, and establish national and international business relationships.

ENDS

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