Interesting discussion about the role of incubators to give start ups in New Zealand a helping hand.

Chris Kirk from Lincoln Uni gave some statistics on the value gained by giving start ups an environment where they can be nurtured and taken to a “ready for investment” stage. he did however raise the issue of the need for business parks, whereby an incubator could be part of a larger business park where Hi Tech businesses could progress from pre incubation to an actual incubator and then on to various stages of semi supported existence.

When you look at Silicon Valley it does seem a powerful argument – concentrate a critical mass of knowledge, ability, ideas and cash and watch the magic happen.

Chris’ comments were made doubly interesting by the lunch address by John Key, leader of the National Party, who reiterated his parties belief in Incubators and stated that National would grow this particular form of economic development assistance.

Perhaps under National we would see a technology park in Christchurch incorporating University buy-in and talent, an incubator to help the start ups with core business competencies and then a clustered area where new grads from the incubator could migrate to. These new grads would then feed knowledge, skills and creative thought back into the area. Perhaps in this way we’d achieve a self fulfilling (and most importantly self supporting, Hi Tech business development industry in New Zealand. Thoughts anyone????

Would TradeMe or Humanware have grown quicker or more readily if they were nurtured within a loose community of geographically and intellectually connected like-minded businesses – surely the Silicon valley experience would say yes

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

1 Comment
  • I think the idea of technology clusters is useful but could also be a bit constricting. To be really creative demands space and freedom which can be difficult to find in an incubator type space especially if you are working in similar areas to others.

    What is really important is having the capital to back start ups and to have that you need many successful entrepreneurs and investors of which there is no shortage in Silicon Valley. Just witness the early days of Larry and Sergey and how they were financed.

    For me that is what we lack here in NZ. Funding is very risk averse and there is not the experience or knowledge here to compete with the US.

    So the second generation will benefit from the early winners like TradeMe and similar enterprises and that’s when some critical mass may be developed. Another issue in NZ is government interference. I say that because they can’t help being involved in everything which just subverts the creative process as they appoint their chosen ones to dictate and decide.

    So i agree Silicon Valley works well but its because investors take risks with their own capital.

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