Canterbury launches software cluster

Christchurch technology firms are working together to help build up their businesses and the region.

Christchurch technology firms are working together to help build up their businesses and the region.

Early next month, they're launching the Canterbury Software Cluster, offering both online and offline support.

The June 6 launch follows demand from the Christchurch software development community for a central focus on practical business resources.

"The cluster aims to help small to medium software companies to move from ownership of 'a hunk of great code' to having a mature marketable software package and a sound international sales channel," says cluster co-founder Keith Cowan, a Jade business manager.

"There are a lot of agencies that support developing software companies, but there is no one single place where they can see the full range of resources laid out in front of them," says Cowan.

Cowan says the cluster will work informally using volunteers and partners collaborating with each other. It has no paid roles, but the initiative is being supported by a group of software developers and suppliers including Trade New Zealand and the Canterbury Development Corporation.

The cluster is also affiliated with the New Zealand Software Association and claims to have a strong Canterbury flavour using local networks.

Co-founders include Daniel Olykan from the Canterbury Development Corporation, Stephen O’Neill (TradeNZ), Vicki and Peter Hyde (SPIS), Sue Stubenvoll (KPMG), Steve Smith (Alchemy) and Grant Ryan (NBCI).

Based on feedback from a December meeting and regular social events involving the local software community, the cluster will offer access to:

  • mentoring, in which experienced industry members give young companies advice on business strategies
  • marketing advice, helping developers gear their solutions for distribution, promotion and sale
  • resources on the Canterbury Software website including directories, links, discussion groups, bulletin boards, events calendar and news
  • practical assistance in obtaining investment capital
It will also hold regular events, workshops and social activities.

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