Launch of Hamilton's Creative Business Incubator
9 October 2008
Launch of SODA Inc. - Hamilton's new Creative Industries Business Incubator
Wintec and Hamilton City Council yesterday jointly announced the official establishment of SODA Inc., the city's new creative industries business incubator that's aimed at encouraging and enabling economically successful businesses within the creative industries sector to thrive in Hamilton.
The name SODA Inc. reflects both its location at the historic Innes soft drink bottling factory at The Meteor, 1 Victoria Street, as well as SODA Inc.'s core mission of generating and incubating creative innovations based on business excellence.
Incubators are able to lift start-ups and early stage businesses to the next level faster and ensure that they arrive there in better shape to grow even bigger. SODA Inc. will assist start-up businesses in the creative industries sector by providing mentoring and hands-on business support plus access to a wide range of business support services. SODA Inc. also will act as a cluster core for Hamilton's growing creative industries sector.
International research shows much better survival rates for businesses that are incubated. In the UK, 75% of businesses are still in business after 5 years compared to a non-incubation survival rate of just 33%. In the USA, 87% of businesses are still in business after 5 years compared to a non-incubation survival rate of just 40%. Importantly for Hamilton, research has also shown that most businesses stay in the local area once they leave an incubation centre.
SODA Inc. is a high-tech custom-designed suite of offices located on the mezzanine level of the refurbished Meteor theatre. Council has recently completed renovations on the building including major capital works on the mezzanine level for the incubator, and Wintec has undertaken the fit-out of the mezzanine to complete its transformation into an interactive open-plan contemporary workspace.
Council and Wintec jointly recognise the value of developing Hamilton as vibrant creative city and are fundamentally aligned in objective of expanding the creative industries sector.
Hamilton Mayor Bob Simcock says that SODA Inc. represents a significant delivery on the intent of the city's Economic Development Strategy as one of its flagship projects.
"The city's Economic Development Strategy is founded on principle that it takes strategic and collaborative partnerships to sustain economic success. SODA Inc. represents an exciting creative opportunity and is an inspired collaborative initiative. Nurturing local talent in an environment which provides unprecedented networking opportunities, cross pollination of industry and encourages sharing of stimulating new ideas is a bold step towards developing an enterprise culture for the city.
"I'm pleased that Council can play its part in providing the best physical environment in which this can take place, and which will ultimately contribute to a more successful business environment for the city.
"We are also very pleased that Council has the opportunity to partner with Wintec to make this new business enterprise a reality and I look forward to seeing the unique creative industries businesses that emerge from the incubator."
Wintec CEO Mark Flowers said the launch of SODA represented more than four years of extensive research and development.
"Wintec wants to take an active leadership role in helping to strengthen the local community and to contribute to the economic growth and social development of the city. Council also fully recognises the important role that the creative industries play in local economic development, city heart revitalisation, and the development of the city's culture and identity.
"Both organisations have subsequently embedded a commitment to SODA in thier strategic development plans, so quite simply this collaboration must be regarded as an exemplar nationally."
The new SODA Inc. Board met late yesterday afternoon and agreed the next steps, which include the recruitment of the General Manager and initial anchor tenants.