Govt drives digital future with million-dollar tech start-up funds

The government is investing just over $1 million to help entrepreneur-driven ICT start-up companies become investment ready, designed to provide a welcome shot in the arm for the tech industry.

The investment is part of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s (MBIE) Accelerator Programme pilot, which supports the rapid formation of early stage ICT and digital technology start-ups.

According to Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce, the programmes are typically run over three months, and prepare start-up companies to be investment ready.

“The role of the Government’s Business Growth Agenda now is to help turn one or two years of good growth into a sustained lift in our economic performance,” he says.

“Encouraging the development of more new ICT and hi-tech companies is a crucial part of the innovation stream of the BGA.

“The Accelerator Programme helps foster faster economic growth by assisting entrepreneurs to develop innovative companies that will drive New Zealand’s economy into the future.”

The recipients who have been selected to receive funding from the Accelerator Programme are all under the Lightning Lab brand. They are:

* Creative HQ (Wellington),

* Canterbury Development Corporation (Christchurch), and

* The Icehouse (Auckland).

“The Accelerator Programme will result in New Zealand developing more high growth, globally ready ICT businesses; a larger group of innovative entrepreneurs who can drive these projects; and more private sector investment into start-up businesses,” Joyce adds.

Joyce says the Accelerator Programme is just one component of the government’s support for businesses with high-growth potential that are still in start-up phase – complementing the Incubator Support Programme administered by Callaghan Innovation.

“While both programmes serve to prepare start-up businesses for investment, Accelerators focus on fast-to-market digital technology start-ups that are entrepreneur-driven,” Joyce adds.

This is the second-stage of the Accelerator Programme pilot. After a successful first-stage pilot programme in 2012, a Request for Proposals process was run from 11 December 2013 to 5 February 2014.

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