A $680,0000 initiative to help Kiwi IT development has been announced by the Government.
It is to create a support agency and offer cash awards to help New Zealand business incubators.
Already New Zealand has several incubators under way, which provide workspace and support services to new and small businesses to help them through the start-up phase of development.
Current examples include Unitec’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Massey University’s Albany campus incubator, Victoria University’s Innovation Greenhouse, the Canterbury Innovation Incubator, and Otago University’s Innovation Centre, where the programme was launched on Friday.
Minister for Small Business Pete Hodgson says such centres can help new firms survive and it made sense for the government to help.
A small Incubator Development Unit within Industry New Zealand will act as a resource for incubator managers and other interested parties. It will set up a national Incubator Network to share information about best practice and processes.
The Incubator Development Unit will also promote incubation and technology transfer and help incubators make use of other Government programmes and services.
Industry New Zealand will establish an informal Incubator Advisory Group, drawing on people with experience in business incubation, to provide practical advice to officials and the minister.
The new annual Incubator Awards will offer cash rewards to incubators in the Incubator Network, recognising those taking a lead in adopting best practice in programmes and processes.
Some $680,000 is presently available for the programme, of which $550,000 will fund the first Incubator Awards.
Hodgson hopes to increase funding in the forthcoming budget, but the scheme was part of “a wider government effort to stimulate new business and innovation.”
R&D spending was now fully tax deductible, he says, and a new Crown Seed Capital fund would help firms emerging from business incubators.
“We think the Government’s role in transforming the economy is to be a leader, a partner, a facilitator, a broker and occasionally a funder. Providing some support for incubators is just one of the consequences of that approach,” Hodgson says.