Soft Tech anchor for new e-centre

Construction industry software company Soft Tech, founded by industry figure John Ball, has moved its 40-strong staff from inner city Auckland to Massey University's new Albany-based e-centre.

Construction industry software company Soft Tech, founded by industry figure John Ball, has moved its 40-strong staff from inner city Auckland to Massey University's new Albany-based e-centre.

Ball, who recently resigned as president of the NZ Software Association, has been a key advocate for the four-years in-the-making incubator centre, which plans to grow and support technology-related businesses and has the backing of the Tindall Foundation and the North Shore City Council.

Soft Tech is the anchor tenant for the centre, which opened 10 days ago, houses seven other fledgling businesses and is still signing up a couple more.

Chief financial officer Robert Roger says the company plans to be there for a couple of years and expects to take on a kind of "mentoring" role for the other businesses, offering both formal and informal advice. He says one area Soft Tech may be able to help out in is international marketing, drawing on the company's 15 years of experience and scouting for markets for the other companies when its representatives are overseas.

Soft Tech also plans to make use of the university's research facility and access students for projects and future employment, especially those involved in web development.

Other tenants include a website engineer, wastewater software developers, and financial services consultants.

The e-centre is run by general manager Steve Corbett and its board includes professor Ian Watson, North Shore City Council councillor Margaret Miles and Tindall Foundation representative Allan Morton, also CEO of Software Images.

The Tindall Foundation made a $2 million loan for the building of the e-centre last year while North Shore City Council donated $500,000 and Massey chipped in with other funding and the land.

Other partners include Enterprise North Shore and patent attorneys Pipers. 3M and Canon sponsored technology and office equipment for the centre.

The e-centre tenants are using Massey's own IT infrastructure.

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