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Northland Inc sounds innovation rallying call

October 16, 2019

Northland Inc is offering a golden opportunity to the business owners of tomorrow to catch the wave of optimism spreading through the region.

The free Te Tai Tokerau Innovation Event – sponsored and facilitated by Northland’s economic development agency – will take place on Thursday, 24 October, opening its doors for a 6pm start at Cornerstone in Kerikeri.

“We want Northland to come and fill the room,” said Jiveen MacGillivray, Growth Advisor and Innovation Specialist at Northland Inc. “We are looking to attract two types of people: business owners who are keen to innovate for the first time, and businesses who are used to doing research and development [R&D] but want to level up, to do more, to break new ground or start exporting, for instance.”

These are exciting times for Northland, MacGillivray believes, and because of this there’s an even greater need to attract talent, to capitalise on the buoyant mood and add to the growing pool of businesses within the region. “Current employers should also be in the room because they are important drivers of job creation and can easily benefit from the range of support and incentives for developing their business, as well as attracting the right talent to join them.”

The event, he added, would also provide a unique chance for people “to network and engage with experts, organisations and industry services accustomed to working with innovative approaches and solutions that have been tried and tested. We want people to learn about proven and practical research and R&D resources that help businesses to innovate”.

Although the discussion will be led by a panel of guest speakers, there would also be ample opportunity for the audience to ask questions and contribute to the flow of the discussion, he said. “We want to broaden the conversation to discuss how, in light of the environmental impact upon the planet, we will be better ancestors, and how, as business people, we can be brave and bold to take ourselves ahead of the competition.”

The interactive forum, set to run for approximately an hour and a half, will be fronted by Dr Bruce Campbell, a leading national and international advocate for the future of food, land and communities; Sera Grubb, Director at Mana Kai Honey, who specialises in retail, beekeeping, extraction and pollination services; and David Clarke, Technical Support Manager at Callaghan Innovation.

Clarke, who leads around 130 of New Zealand’s top scientists and engineers dedicated to solving problems through research and development, sees an opportunity for Northlanders to also be at the forefront of Callaghan Innovation’s C-Prize Challenge 2019, which will include 10 finalists (determined by judges), each receiving a prize package valued in excess of $35,000.

The challenge, which opened on 23 September, is designed to discover teams who can bring world-leading innovative solutions to environmental problems.


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