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Ecentre wins Callaghan Innovation contract

Ecentre chief executive Jackie Young.

The ecentre at Massey University has reaffirmed its place as a leading incubator hub for technology start-ups by winning a Callaghan Innovation service expansion contract.

Announced today by Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith, the contracts have been awarded to six organisations to provide support to early-stage tech firms in the regions.

From next month, the North Shore, Auckland-based ecentre will work with Northland Inc, Northland’s Regional Economic Development Agency, to deliver services to start-ups from the Te Tai Tokerau region.

Ecentre chief executive Jackie Young says winning the Callaghan Innovation contract is a significant indicator that its programmes deliver results.

“Now, in association with Northland Inc, we will help more businesses validate and develop their business ideas, build their customer base, get investment ready and go global, more quickly.”

Ecentre expands into Northland

Mr Goldsmith says the ecentre’s programmes demonstrate the Government’s desire to encourage more technology start-ups in New Zealand as a means to diversifying the economy and increasing productivity.

“These contracts underpin the Government’s commitment to readying the New Zealand economy for the technological disruption to come. I can’t wait to see the businesses that these support providers help bring to market,” he says.

Northland Inc chief executive David Wilson says an entrepreneurial spirit is strong in the region, and that successful outcomes for businesses are more likely when support is offered from the very start.

“We are really pleased to be able to offer incubation services to Northland firms for the first time, in partnership with the ecentre at Massey University. This will round out our business support services and help strengthen the ecosystem supporting Northland firms to grow, in particular those fledgling companies ready to move to the next stage,” he says.

Sprinting to success

Since 2001, the ecentre business incubator and accelerator has been building the capabilities of new business owners by providing cutting edge programmes, on-site professionals, experienced mentors and investors to New Zealand’s innovation ecosystem.

It offers three programmes: Sprint Foundation, an intensive programme where entrepreneurs apply market validation tools and methodologies to their idea or business venture; Sprint Develop, tailored commercialisation support for early stage companies that have worked through the initial market validation process; and Sprint Launch, an accelerator-like programme that fast tracks customer acquisition and revenue generation for start-ups.

Ecentre is one of six founder incubator or accelerator hubs to win a contract following an extensive tender process. The other successful organisations are:  Waikato’s SODA Inc, Wellington’s Creative HQ and ZeroPoint Ventures, Auckland’s The Icehouse and Palmerston North’s BCC.

Founder incubators are based around a start-up organisation, such as ecentre, and bring groups of start-ups together, sometimes in a shared working space. They provide services to increase start-ups’ chances of customer acquisition, investment and success in the domestic and global marketplace.

Ecentre is also supported by EY, ATEED, NZ Trade and Enterprise, NZSA, Arrow Rock, Ever Edge IP, Hudson Gavin Martin, Simmonds Stewart, CMCTEC, NTec, Flying Kiwi Angels and Massey University.

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