NZ tech incubator awards first repayable grant

Govt reveals recipient of the first repayable grant through Callaghan Innovation’s expanded business incubator network.

Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce has announced the recipient of the first repayable grant through Callaghan Innovation’s expanded business incubator network.

Tiro Lifesciences, an early-stage medical diagnostic company focusing initially on the development of technology for the detection of breast cancer in dense tissue, has been granted up to $450,000 over two years to develop a pain and radiation-free medical-imaging tool.

“Technology-focused incubators are designed to get more high-growth start-ups off the ground,” Joyce says. “Growing new companies in our high-tech sector is crucial to maintaining a strongly growing economy.

“Bringing more smart start-ups through the innovation pipeline will help New Zealand develop a competitive edge in this dynamic and challenging sector.”

Repayable grants are available only to start-up businesses commercialising complex intellectual property in technology-focused incubators.

“It’s great to see this kind of company, based on exciting intellectual property, coming out of the new technology incubators as envisioned," Joyce adds.

Callaghan Innovation approved eight incubators in July as part of its expanded Incubator Programme. Tiro Lifesciences is being incubated through Christchurch-based Powerhouse Ventures.

Technology-focused incubators are privately-owned businesses that concentrate on commercialising complex intellectual property sourced primarily from publicly-funded research organisations such as universities and Crown research institutes - they are modelled on the successful Israeli incubator system.

Cabinet agreed in Budget 2013 to allocate $31.3 million in new funding over four years for the repayable grants, Joyce says.

“The Government will contribute up to $450,000 over two years to successful applicants, and this funding is matched 1:3 by incubator owners contributing up to $150,000," he adds.

The grants will be repayable out of each company’s revenue.

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