New Zealand's network of business incubators is being expanded, with the introduction of a new type of technology-focused incubator designed to get more high-growth start-ups off the ground, science and innovation minister Steven Joyce has announced.
The list of incubators approved by the Callaghan Innovation Board includes three of the new technology-focused incubators and five founder-focused incubators, previously known as Business Incubators.
The technology-focused incubators will have access to the pilot repayable grant programme announced in Budget 2013.
"The response from the market has been really positive, with a considerable number of high quality applications from across New Zealand," Joyce says.
"It has been encouraging to see a number of new applicants entering the incubation space and the keen interest in the new technology incubators."
The technology-focused incubators are PowerHouse (Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin), Astrolab (Auckland) and WNT Ventures (Tauranga).
The founder-focused incubators are The Icehouse Ltd (Auckland), The Bio Commerce Centre (Palmerston North), Creative HQ Ltd (Wellington), eCentre Ltd (Auckland) and Soda Inc Ltd (Hamilton)
Callaghan Innovation and the successful applicants are now in contract negotiations.
"Collaboration bodes well for developing and growing new companies in our high tech sector, which is crucial to growing our economy. If we can work smarter across industries and improve our access to innovation we will have a competitive edge in this dynamic and challenging sector," Joyce says.
The Incubator Support Programme from Callaghan Innovation will offer support and funding to both the existing founder focused incubator model and the new technology focused incubators.
Technology-focused incubators are privately owned businesses that will focus on commercialising complex intellectual property primarily sourced from publicly funded research organisations, such as universities and Crown Research Institutes.
Technology-focused incubators will be able to access a new repayable grants tool on behalf of the start-up companies they incubate. These grants will be administered by Callaghan Innovation.
The Government will contribute up to $450,000 over two years to eligible companies resident in technology-focused incubators, matched 1:3 with incubator owners contributing up to $150,000. The Government grants will be repayable out of the company's revenue.
This pilot repayable grants programme has been allocated $31.3m over four years.