WaikatoLink opens up to local entrepreneurs

Incubator to service regional start-up businesses

The University of Waikato has opened its WaikatoLink Venture Incubator to local entrepreneurs.

WaikatoLink, the commercialisation arm of the University of Waikato, has previously operated as an incubator for ventures based on the university's own science and technology.

The incubator will provide start-ups with access to expertise, networks and resources and industry partners will provide expertise and services to entrepreneurs.

WaikatoLink’s CEO, Mark Stuart, says early stage ventures need a lot of assistance.

"We have built up the expertise, partners and networks to help entrepreneurs assess their business ideas and market opportunities, and to develop business models and robust business practices. We can also help incubator tenants find strategic partners, raise capital and access markets such as China and the US. All these things dramatically increase a venture’s chance of success,” Stuart says.

WaikatoLink has a number of its own ventures under incubation including Novatein, which creates bioplastics from animal processing waste, and Solenza, a novel building integrated solar technology product.

Khipu Systems, an IT company, recently received a $1 million investment from Endeavour Capital, which has invested in six other WaikatoLink early stage ventures.

WaikatoLink successes include Ectus, which successfully exited in 2005, and biotech company ZyGEM, which is pursuing the billion-dollar market for DNA tests.

Last week economic development minister Pete Hodgson announced a $1.8 million funding boost for the incubator support programme.

Information and contact details for the WaikatoLink Venture Incubator can be found at http://www.waikatolink.co.nz

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