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The new Christchurch style: Old boys out, entrepreneurs in

Monday, November 19th, 2018

The earthquakes have changed the culture in genteel Christchurch.

Now it’s more about how you can contribute than who you went to school with, writes Steven Moe.

I grew up in Christchurch, but not the one that exists today. I lived in the non-Ōtautahi version – the pre-earthquakes mini-England you wouldn’t recognise if you came to visit now. Today it is proudly Ōtautahi Christchurch, and the vibe has shifted. That’s a good thing and is one of several reasons I moved back to Canterbury at the start of 2016 after 14 years away.

Something deeper happened when the earth moved and tossed buildings to the ground. The way of thinking itself was shaken up and impacted as well. We need to move beyond the image of construction and recovery or the initial impressions of ruin you might still see if you only go on a short drive through or just listen to others who visited. What is it that has changed?

Firstly, you cannot go through an experience where human life has been lost and remain unaffected. Just about everyone in Christchurch knows someone who had a family member or friend who was injured or killed. While the collective impact of this will fade, the experience caused many to reprioritise what they value in life. That has led to an attitude of being willing to try new things and less fear of failure: Life is short.

Christchurch now has a thriving startup ecosystem. Co-working spaces are packed with entrepreneurs, as is the weekly “Coffee & Jam” session run each Tuesday by Ministry of Awesome where two people (often entrepreneurs) present what they are doing. Canterbury has the second largest tech sector in New Zealand with 15,000 employed. The annual Canterbury Tech summitattracts a crowd of 700 and is regularly oversubscribed.

Another thing I’ve noticed is that people from outside Christchurch refer to “the earthquake” whereas people from Christchurch refer to the plural “earthquakes”. That use of language is significant because it underscores the length of the experience people have endured. This was not a one-off event, it went on for months and years, and those who were not here at the time struggle to understand this. I am one of those people who slips sometimes and says “earthquake” because I was living in Japan (experiencing another big earthquake there) back in 2010/2011. The hardship goes on for those who have outstanding EQC claims, and we see constant reminders as new buildings spring up on cleared lots.

People are also very accessible and willing to help others in Christchurch, and this is boosted by the networks being in closer proximity than in a larger city such as Auckland. Provided you look to add value to conversations and are willing to give to others you are welcomed in. This is in contrast to Sydney, Tokyo and London where I have also lived, and is counter to the outdated perception that Christchurch relies on ‘old boys networks’. Yes, they exist, but they are less important than before.

Another change is that there are now whole new communities rising up around Christchurch that didn’t exist in that way prior to the earthquakes. Many people choose to live just outside of the city in growing satellite communities, often commuting in. I live in Rolleston to the south and it is a good case study. Pre-earthquakes it was a sleepy settlement of around 1000 people; now the population is almost 18,000. It feels as if the pace of growth is ramping up even further, with a motorway opening to cut commuting time and new subdivisions announced constantly. When pretty much everyone has moved into a community like this there is a more open culture and willingness to engage with others.

Christchurch has a host of advantages over other cities and it makes me wonder when people in Auckland and Wellington are going to realise. It is uniquely positioned for those who love the outdoors, with skiing at Mt Hutt an hour away, beaches on the outskirts and great trails and mountain bike riding in the Port Hills. House prices are literally half that of Auckland. Throw in world-class facilities such as the new library Tūranga, and there are compelling reasons to look twice.

Large global technology companies seem to have caught on, with some having bought ventures here but not relocated them offshore, such as Verizon, which bought fleet tracking software firm Telogis, and Insight Venture Partners which purchased software-as-a-service company Diligent.

If you haven’t been to Ōtautahi Christchurch in a while you may not be aware of the new undercurrent. When visiting other parts of New Zealand and overseas people often ask me, ‘how are things going?’, with the slight head tilt and tone of voice they might use if asking about a sick relative. I usually nod and smile then give some of the examples in this article of what I’m seeing on the ground.

There is a chance now to proactively build up a new culture alongside the many new buildings opening across the city. If that continues we’ll see transformation at a level deeper than just infrastructure, and Ōtautahi Christchurch will rise to become even better than it was in the past.

Steven Moe is a Christchurch lawyer and hosts the weekly podcast seeds.

Working together to apply AI for social good

Tuesday, November 13th, 2018

Google.org is issuing an open call to organizations around the world to submit their ideas for how they could use AI to help address societal challenges. Selected organizations will receive support from Google’s AI experts, Google.org grant funding from a $25M pool, credit and consulting from Google Cloud, and more.

At Google, we believe that artificial intelligence can provide new ways of approaching problems and meaningfully improve people’s lives. That’s why we’re excited to support organizations that are using the power of AI to address social and environmental challenges. Selected applicants will receive coaching from Google’s AI experts, Google.org grant funding from a $25 million pool, and credits and consulting from Google Cloud. Grantees will also join a specialized Launchpad Accelerator program, and we’ll tailor additional support to each project’s needs in collaboration with data science nonprofit DataKind.

We’re looking for projects across a range of social impact domains and levels of technical expertise, from organizations that are experienced in AI to those with an idea for how they could be putting their data to better use. Since 2005, Google.org has invested in innovative organizations that are using technology to build a better world. For more information on what we’re looking for in this Challenge and what we mean when we say AI, please refer to our Frequently Asked Questions.

To help you understand how AI may be able to help your organization have greater impact, we’ve put together a set of educational resources. If you are new to AI, we recommend starting with the self-study Introduction to Machine Learning Problem Framing course.

We look forward to reviewing your ideas.

Application criteria

Impact. How will the proposed project address a societal challenge, and to what extent? Is the application grounded in research and data about the problem and the solution? Is there a clear plan to deploy the AI model for real-world impact, and what are the expected outcomes?

Feasibility. Does the team have a well-­developed, realistic plan to execute on the proposal? Does the team have a plan to access a meaningful dataset and technical expertise to apply AI to the problem? Have they identified the right partners and domain experts needed for implementation?

Use of AI. Does the proposal apply AI technology to tackle the issue it seeks to address?

Scalability. If successful, how can this project scale beyond the initial proposal? Can it scale directly, serve as a model for other efforts, or advance the field?

Responsibility. Does the proposed use of artificial intelligence align with Google’s AI Principles? See Google’s Responsible AI Practices for practical guidance.

 

How to apply

If you have an idea and your organization is eligible (see FAQs), you’re ready to apply. Download our application and apply through the link below.

Organizations will have until 11:59:59pm PST January 22, 2019 to submit their applications. After the deadline, Google and our panel of experts will review proposals and announce grant recipients in spring 2019.

https://impactchallenge-app.withgoogle.com/ai-challenge/#!/page/1

 

Practical Tools for Active Startups – Intensive Online Marketing Workshop

Tuesday, November 13th, 2018

DATE AND TIME

Fri 23 November 2018, 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM

LOCATION

GreenHouse, 146a Lichfield Street, Christchurch, Canterbury 8011

As a follow-up to our recent Practical Tools for Active Startups – Online Marketing session with Sam Frost, we are pleased to present this strictly limited hands-on workshop with Sam. This session is suitable as a follow-up for those who attended the previous session and for any startups which require more intensive digital marketing support.

In this practical workshop, participants will be guided through the process of implementing an effective online marketing campaign and can expect to conclude the session with one or more new campaigns which they can then track against their historical efforts.

Participants must have at least one active/recent online marketing campaign on Google Ads or Facebook Ads, and must have access to a minimum of 2 weeks of performance data which can be used to analyse how their current efforts are tracking. This event is targeted at active startups with $1,000/mo to $100,000/mo+ in revenue.

This session will be held from 9am to 1pm on Friday the 23rd November at Greenhouse and includes morning tea. We look forward to seeing you there!

Tickets are available for Members and Non-Members of Startup Christchurch. If you are not yet a Member of Startup Christchurch and would like access to a Member ticket, please sign up HERE.

Launch Club: Success metrics, legal foundations and next steps Workshop

Tuesday, November 13th, 2018

 

Launch Club is Ministry of Awesome‘s Startup Activation programme tailored for early-stage entrepreneurs who want to spend focused time developing their venture and defining their pathway to success.

The programme is heavily interactive with each workshop led by sector experts on key business topics.

Having a grip on your success metrics is key to running a successful business operation.

Our experienced accountant will show you which metrics to track to understand a company’s performance in real time. Then we will look at the legal set up of your young business reviewing issues such as intellectual property, company ownership, licensing, and customer agreements.

In the second half of this session, we will concentrate on your very next steps and how to build accountability into your growth process. We will also look at developing strategic partnerships and how to effectively communicate your elevator pitch and build powerful networks.

Facilitators;

Kris Morrison: Kris is a Partner at Parry Field Lawyers and leads corporate, technology, and startup advisory team at Parry Field Lawyers. He is an expert in business structuring and IP law.Kris acts for a number of not for profits, charities and social enterprises. assisting with a range of issues including drafting of constitutions, trust deeds and operational rules, incorporation, charitable registration and schedule 32 applications.

Anthony Rohan: Anthony is a Chartered Accountant and has worked in CA firms since 2000 and now is the Director of Fairground Accounting. He has been involved with a wide range of community-led initiatives including co-founding a youth charity in Christchurch and sitting as a Trustee on various NFP boards.

Marian Johnson: Marian is Ministry of Awesome’s Chief Awesome Officer. She is an experienced business strategy and growth leader having bootstrapped at local tech startups as well as exercised the executional power and resource of multinationals like Universal Entertainment and Discovery Networks. She has a passion for creativity and the beautiful optimism of this innovative 21st Century.

DATE AND TIME

Thu 29 November 2018, 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM

LOCATION

Startup Breakfast Club: Jumpstart Your Startup in 2019

Tuesday, November 13th, 2018

 

The Breakfast Club is your monthly morning caffeine hit where you’ll find valuable social networks, gain business insight, and find the critical support to power your venture forward.
As 2018 draws to a close, it’s time to reflect on the hard-work, successes (and perhaps failures) that saw you through the last 12 months, and set new goals for the future.
That’s why we’re going to help you jumpstart your startup at our next Breakfast Club this December. We’ll be sharing our tips, tricks and resources to help you grow your business, venture, or idea over January, and will take a look at how setting goals can help you achieve your objectives in less time, and with less stress, than usual.
As the last Startup Breakfast Club for the year, you won’t want to miss this opportunity to network, meet likeminded people and set your goals for 2019. See you there!
There’ll be free flowing coffee and breakfast as usual, so secure your spot by registering for this FREE event today!
The Start-up Breakfast Club is ALWAYS sold out in advance, so register early to make sure you don’t miss out. Register by Tuesday 4th of December.

DATE AND TIME

Thu 6 December 2018, 7:00 AM – 8:45 AM

LOCATION

Kahukura Building

Ara Institute of Canterbury, Corner of Moorhouse Ave and  St

Christchurch, Canterbury 8011

Register online for this free event  https://www.eventbrite.co.nz/e/startup-breakfast-club-jumpstart-your-startup-in-2019-tickets-52381950825?aff=erelexpmlt

Tech Activator Sessions #37

Tuesday, November 13th, 2018

Ministry of Awesome’s Tech Activator Sessions are made up of 20-minute mentoring sessions where tech entrepreneurs of all sizes and stages talk through their tech startup, venture or idea and get focused feedback from our Startup Activation Coordinator and a veteran panel of tech experts. This is your opportunity to use their expertise and networks to ensure your best possible chance of success.

Spaces are limited, and the programme is almost always sold out so make sure you get in quick.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Select a 20-minute appointment that works for you and tell us about your idea or your business.
  2. Feel free to bring along any materials that will assist you (notes, drawings, websites, photos, presentations, etc.) or just bring you.
  3. These sessions are always sold out so please show up on time, get ready to focus, and gear up for a great session.

We can’t wait to help you make your dream a reality or help you get on that road to successful entrepreneurship whatever that looks like for you.

All sessions take place at Ministry of Awesome, Ground Floor, Kahukura Building, Corner of Moorhouse Ave and Madras St, Christchurch.

https://www.eventbrite.co.nz/e/tech-activator-sessions-37-tickets-51689127572?aff=erelexpmlt

DATE AND TIME

Wed 28 November 2018

2:00 PM – 6:00 PM

LOCATION

Kahukura Building

Corner of Moorhouse Avenue and Madras Street

Ara Institute of Canterbury

Christchurch, Canterbury 8011

Brother-sister duo build crypto investment platform

Tuesday, November 6th, 2018

Source bizEDGE Sara Barker

A brother and sister team is behind one of New Zealand’s newest cryptocurrency exchange platforms designed for everyday investors. Alan and Janine Grainger, who are seasoned cryptocurrency investors, came up with the concept after discovering that friends and family were also interested but they simply didn’t know where to begin.

“We have both been investing in cryptocurrency for a number of years, and have a strong belief in the potential of cryptocurrency and blockchain to improve the world and change how society and our economies work,” says Janine Grainger.

“However, we had lots of friends and family wanting to get into it who found it very daunting and didn’t know where to start. There were plenty of barriers to entry, and they didn’t know what to do.”

The Graingers then developed Easy Crypto, a platform that they say is the only end-to-end service in New Zealand. The platform launched in early 2018.

It helps users buy cryptocurrency and set up an online wallet they can use to store investments. So far New Zealanders are investing an average of $844, although investment options range from $100 up to $10,000.

You may think that a family business like this could lead to some tricky situations, but they say that it has worked well so far.

“Alan and I have really complementary skill sets, which is perfect for this kind of project,” says Janine Grainger.

“Alan does all the tech – he built our MVP in a week – and I bring the financial services and compliance expertise. Those complementary skill sets weren’t something we were consciously aware of before, but now we’re very aware that neither of us could have gotten it off the ground or could continue to run it without the other.”

Alan Grainger adds that the platform basically exists who want to try out cryptocurrency investment, not so much for those who want to invest huge amounts or their life savings into crypto.

While some cryptocurrency platforms are plagued by scams, the Graingers were careful to establish Easy Crypto as a legitimate and trusted business in New Zealand.

“Most cryptocurrency businesses get a bank account and when it gets shut down they just move to the next bank,” explains Janine Grainger.

“We wanted to do it right – working with the banks rather than working around them – so that the banks have trust in what we’re doing and our customers have confidence that we’ll do right by them. While it may take time it means we do it the right way – and it gives us a good chance of still being here in ten years.”

Get ready for the biggest tax changes in a generation

Tuesday, November 6th, 2018

Source bizEDGE Sara Barker

The biggest tax changes in a generation are coming, and they will affect almost every business household and business across the country.

Inland Revenue is about to ramp up a major public information and awareness and campaign to explain the changes, ahead of the April 2019 tax year.

“For the first time, automated tax assessments will see around 1.67 million New Zealanders get a tax refund paid straight into their bank account,” says Inland Revenue Commissioner Naomi Ferguson.

“About 720,000 of those people will not have had any recent contact with IR, some not for 20-years or more, so it may come as a surprise. That’s why we’re running this campaign – to make sure as many people as possible understand what’s happening.”

She says that of those 720,000 people, about 530,000 will be people who earn less than the minimum wage or beneficiaries, which means they’ve never applied for a tax refund before.

The changes come hand-in-hand with the new payday filing process.

More than 330,000 Working for Families customers will also benefit from the new process with IR getting their wage and salary information immediately, allowing IR to adjust payments so customers are always getting the right amount.

“IR will get your payroll information on your paydays instead of employers having to do a separate report to us once a month. Payday filing is mandatory from 1 April and many have started already, says Ferguson.

“And for investments, the new system will see dividend and interest payments reported to IR more frequently by the banks and others who make the payments, so that taxpayers receiving them don’t have to.”

Inland Revenue customer segment lead Richard Owen adds that payday filing will make things easier for employers to submit pay information.

“Businesses will be able to integrate their tax obligations into their regular payroll cycles, while the more timely information will allow Inland Revenue to provide certainty around an employee’s social entitlements such as Working for Families Tax Credits,” he explains.

Ferguson adds that despite the changes, most people will be able to pay and receive the right amounts across the course of the year without having to do anything.

“That’s the point of all these changes – to make tax easier and more accurate for New Zealanders.”

“Come the April 2019 tax year our transformation process will see the ‘big ticket’ items –  GST, provisional tax, income tax, Working for Families and investment, all on the new system.

“The next steps, in the coming two to three, years will see child support, student loans and KiwiSaver bought in as well. We’ve made a lot of progress and will continue to do so.”

Inland Revenue will support its education campaign with print, radio and online advertising, a website, and direct communications to wage and salary earners.

The social enterprise sector comes of age

Wednesday, October 24th, 2018

 

From businesses doing good to charities running businesses and everything in between, social enterprise as an industry is growing up and holding its first national conference.

In 1942 the New Zealand poet Allen Curnow wrote: “Simply by sailing in a new direction, you could enlarge the world.” He was talking about the first European explorers arriving in New Zealand on their wooden ships but his statement could also apply to the expanding social enterprise movement in New Zealand.

The movement is actively pushing boundaries in the pursuit of a combination of both profit and purpose. It involves re-imagining the future of business as a means to provide incomes for employees and generate profit for owners, while also addressing social or environmental needs. In short, the organisation acts ‘for purpose’.

So where are we on the social enterprise journey in New Zealand? Is it even right to start describing this as a sector, and where does social enterprise fit in the spectrum between charity on the one side and entrepreneurial upstarts on the other? My view is that social enterprise is now charting into new territory and enlarging our understanding of the world, and that is shown by a few indicators on our map.

First, the sure sign of legitimacy for a group is a national conference devoted to gathering like-minded people together. A year ago in Christchurch the Social Enterprise World Forum was held with more than 1,600 attending. A global event held in this country was perhaps an unusual mountaintop, but it certainly kick-started a lot of discussions and planted many seeds for those who attended.

But the truest signal that social enterprise as a sector has really landed here is happening this Friday, when Wellington Zoo plays host to the Ākina-organised Aotearoa Social Enterprise Forum. The day-long event will feature an overview of the scene in New Zealand as well as 14 sessions on topics such as

  •       measuring impact
  •       Māori and indigenous enterprise
  •       social procurement
  •       youth and social enterprise
  •       legal structures for social enterprises
  •       activating impact investment
  •       environmental accountability

These topics show that those involved are thinking more deeply about the real impact and implications of starting a social enterprise. They are important issues for those involved in starting or running social enterprises, although some cautions and questions I wrote about here almost a year ago still apply. The credibility of the sector will depend on social entrepreneurs having some good answers.

I’ve certainly noticed an elevation in the thinking among the 65 guests interviewed for my podcast, seeds, which focuses on social entrepreneurs. The depth of understanding about the basics of social enterprise we are seeing now has been revealing. It’s like we really are sailing in the new direction that Allen Curnow talked about, which is opening up new horizons for the possibilities of social enterprise.

Additional evidence of this local growth in social enterprise is the fact that the term itself is becoming more widely known, discussed and – most importantly – understood. That wasn’t the case even a year ago. You can also see changes in how each end of the charity/business axis is approaching social enterprise principles. For example, an increasing number of entrepreneurs are incorporating social enterprise into their standard business models. It’s clear that younger generations do this more naturally than previous ones, who were more likely infected by the “greed is good” mantra of movies like Wall Street.

A diverse range of start-ups are demonstrating this. Check out the stories of 27 Seconds, a social enterprise winery where profits go towards reducing modern day slavery (more on Alanna Chapman and their journey here),  Crave Café in Morningside (Nigel Cottle’s story is here and earlier in Spinoff here), or Digital Journey which provides free resources for companies to check their internet presence and promotes better use of technology (hear Stuart Dillon-Roberts’ story here).

But what about corporates? They’re getting in on the act too. NZ Post recently introduced a new “Social Procurement” strategy as a way for it to interact and engage meaningfully with social enterprises. Earlier this year it won the Sustainability Project of the Year award at the New Zealand Procurement Excellence Awards for its efforts in this area. There are many other private, public and not-for-profit entities also interested in pursuing a social procurement approach in New Zealand. It’s an encouraging trend: a large customer base that social enterprises can sell their goods and services to will be vital for their long term success.

Over in the ‘traditional’ not-for-profit world, many charities are realising that grant funding can only go so far, and they are exploring other ways (including setting up businesses) to achieve their charitable purposes. An example is Pathway, a charitable trust that helps prisoners reintegrate into society. Pathway has two companies which operate for profit while also providing employment for the very group the trust is focused on. Other examples of larger charities operating businesses areTrade Aid and Kilmarnock , both of which provide employment opportunities for those with disabilities (hear an interview with Kilmarnock CEO Michelle Sharp here and read more here).

It would be remiss not to mention the other big growth area, impact investing. Social enterprises need funding to start and grow. New Zealand now boasts its own impact investing network and earlier this month it was announced that the Impact Investing National Advisory Board of Aotearoa New Zealand has become a member of the Global Steering Group for Impact Investing. A real-life example of this trend here is the Impact Enterprise Fund that had a first close of an impressive NZ$8 million. Impact Ventures’ Chris Simcock is currently working on finding investment opportunities for that fund and he explained how this whole area is evolving in New Zealand when I spoke to himrecently. Another local example is the work of Soul Capital which invests in social enterprises.

Lastly, it is heartening to see that business in general is becoming more aware of social enterprise concepts; it may be that more organisations will self-identify as social enterprises in the near future. Research is currently being undertaken on whether options including new legal structures to empower social entrepreneurs would help the sector grow. Enabling organisations (whatever their legal form) to act with purpose and helping them articulate, clearly communicate and report on their purpose will become increasingly vital. There is also a growing realisation of how important it is that the work of social enterprises not become isolated as something “they do”. Instead the ethos behind the movement must be encouraged to permeate the mainstream business world as well.

It really is an exciting time to be involved with social enterprises as we further expand the boundaries and explore what it means in the New Zealand context – for example, what businessescan learn from Māoritanga that is unique and distinctive.

It will be fascinating to watch what emerges from the hui this week in Wellington as more connections are made among those who attend. The social enterprise sector is here to stay. I hope those on the journey will continue to sail in new directions and in doing so the world will keep enlarging as we push out further and discover more about the power of doing business that also does good.

Steven Moe is a lawyer and the host of the seeds podcast, which features interviews with social entrepreneurs. He is the author of Social Enterprises in NZ: a legal handbook, available for free by email: stevenmoe@parryfield.com.


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Innovation Ecosystem Breakfast – 2 November 7-9 am

Wednesday, October 24th, 2018
The 2nd annual Christchurch and Canterbury Innovation Ecosystem Breakfast  is now scheduled for 2 November, 7-9AM, at MoA’s new location in the Kahukura Building off Moorhouse Ave.  Please make sure you grab yourself a registration now via the Eventbrite page which is located here.

What’s the secret to high-growth startup success?

If you’re deep in the startup grind or mid-growth slump, you’ll find the inspiration, the network, and the support you need right here at this FREE breakfast event.

From rocking the global aerospace industry to helping Facebook run better ad platforms, we’ve collected some truly inspirational Cantabrian entrepreneurs together to tell their Christchurch startup story and share their recipes for success. Then – it’s over to you with the opportunity to actively engage and network with our truly awesome innovation ecosystem who are all there to help you.

Whether you’re looking for investment options or business support, our support teams are here to help you succeed. If you’re not already engaged with this network and you are an innovator, entrepreneur, or startup with high growth potential, this event is absolutely for you.

Don’t let your entrepreneurial journey be a lonely one – get in quick and grab a ticket before they’re sold out!

Here’s how the morning will run:

7.00am – Registration opens for a 7.10am start.

7.10am- Welcome address from Joanna Norris, CEO, ChristchurchNZ

7.20am- Intro to panelists and ecosystem, Q&A begins

7.50am- Break out for networking with service providers and support teams

9.00am- Finish

About our speakers & panelists.

Joanna Norris – CEO – ChristchurchNZ

Glenn Bull, CEO, Skilitics 

Paul Bingham, co-Founder, Shuttlerock

Mark Rocket, Founder, Kea Aerospace

Emily Heazlewood – Romer

Kaila Colbin – co-Founder – Boma

Krissy Sadler-Bridge, NZ Marketing Manager – MYOB

Connect with Unreal Engine on Sunday 21st October in New Zealand

Thursday, October 18th, 2018

 

Following up on recent stops in Melbourne and Adelaide, Epic Games is excited to announce that developers in both New Zealand and Australia can connect with us next week during special events designed to equip devs with tools to get started and grow in UE4: David Stelzer, Epic’s US-based Unreal Engine licensing manager; Chris Murphy, our evangelist for Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia; and Jack Porter, Unreal Engine mobile team lead based out of Epic Games Korea.

Epic Games Presents: An Introduction to Unreal Engine
Where: EPIC Innovation Center | 78-100 Manchester St · Christchurch, New Zealand
When: Sunday, October 21 | 2pm – 5pm

Hosted by the Christchurch Game Development Meetup group, you’re invited to join us for Introduction to Unreal Engine, a live training workshop where participants will learn the basics of creating their first project in UE4.

This introductory tutorial assumes participants have basic 3D game development understanding, but no prior experience with UE4. You will learn the basics of creating a game from starter content using the UE4 Blueprint visual scripting system. Blueprints are easily leveraged by all game development disciplines, so artists, designers and programmers are all welcome.

Topics we’ll cover include: project setup, controller setup, importing assets, building materials, creating character classes, creating AI, navigation, blending animation, spawning enemies, maintaining game state, and configuring in-game UI. We will also cover design principles, Blueprint debugging and performance optimization techniques.

SLI-Systems celebrates with a “carnival”

Thursday, October 11th, 2018

Yesterday the staff held a carnival. A gazebo was erected and festooned with lights, stuffed animals and confectionery galore. If you had a sweet tooth it was your dream come true. With a candy floss machine ably manned by Wayne producing pink and blue candy floss we remember from our childhood, a popcorn machine was producing bowls of popcorn, there was a machine producing snow cones, and an old time lolly dispenser giving you jelly beans and giant M&M’s.Others made themselves big ice creams in giant waffle cones.

A great way to celebrate success

 

Remote working: The ticket to happier and healthier employees?

Thursday, October 4th, 2018

Businesses that allow employees to work remotely also reap the benefits of increased employee productivity, happiness and health, according to a new survey commissioned by LogMeIn.
It found that many New Zealanders and Australians are opting to work remotely, and the concept of a standard eight-hour shift is on the decline.

The survey polled 1000 people across A/NZ, the UK, France, Germany and India, and found that despite some level of guilt about being away from the office, remote working is making people happier and healthier.

More than half (57%) of New Zealand office workers are now able to work remotely if they choose to. Of those who do, 70% say it gives them more flexibility in their hours or breaks, 43% say it’s easier to focus, 40% say it’s easier to take care of family members, and 39% say they feel more productive when the work remotely.

New Zealand and Australian respondents also experience the benefits of improved happiness and mental health – 40% of Kiwis and 35% of Australians agree.

Remote working also slashes commute times – of the New Zealand respondents, 67% say cost and geographic distance are the two biggest factors that encourage employees to work remotely.

While some New Zealand workers do feel guilty about working remotely and battle with negative perceptions that it’s less productive than being in the office (56%), they also feel more pressure to appear ‘more responsive’ on email and other communication platforms. What’s more, 22% also felt pressured to work more hours, which affects family and free time.

“We’ve uncovered that while over a third of workers find it easier to focus while working from home and report numerous benefits, they feel that there’s a perception from the outset that they are slacking off,” comments LogMeIn VP Eduardo Cocozza.

“This means they end up sending more emails and being more responsive on other team chat platforms than they necessarily would do while in the office, just to prove they’re working. This is clearly a problem. Businesses need to trust their employees to do their jobs and ensure they act on this opportunity to improve employee wellbeing and satisfaction.”

Remote working does have some downsides – respondents also report loneliness/lack of camaraderie with office peers (40% of NZ workers), less communication (32%), and some face significant technology or connectivity issues (32%).

There is an optimum balance between remote working and working from the office when the option is available to them – and 82% of all polled office workers think remote working opportunities are the future of business.

While 76% of New Zealanders say they are most productive in an office, many feel they do their best work outside of it. 44% of Kiwis would ideally work from home, while 12% prefer a public space.

What’s more, 7% of New Zealand respondents would be interested in a position that allows remote working all of the time. 54% of New Zealand office workers stated that their ideal working situation includes working part of the day/week in an office and part at home or on-the-go.

67% of NZ respondents would be more likely to take a job with a remote work option than if it was offered without the option. 22% of respondents would also be willing to take a job with lower pay if it allowed them to work remotely.

“For businesses looking to grow and succeed in the future, offering work from home opportunities will be vital to their success. Even allowing employees to work from home once a week can boost productivity as well as morale,” comments Cocozza.

Long gone are the days of traditional office work in the confines of an office setting. Office workers are looking to live more environmentally friendly lives, save money on their commute, and have more flexible, family friendly schedules which allow them to get more done and be more productive than if they had co-workers constantly distracting them in an office setting,” Cocozza concludes.
Source Sara Barker

Cyber criminals using lookalike online shopping domains to phish buyers

Thursday, October 4th, 2018

Machine identity protection provider Venafi has released research on the explosion of lookalike domains, which are routinely used to steal sensitive data from online shoppers.

Venafi’s research analysed suspicious domains targeting the top 20 retailers in five key markets: the US, UK, France, Germany and Australia.

As the rate of online shopping increases, customers are being targeted through lookalike domains.

Cyber attackers create these fake domains by substituting a few characters in the URLs.

Because they point to malicious online shopping sites that mimic legitimate, well-known retail websites, it makes it increasingly difficult for customers to detect the fake domains.

Additionally, given that many of these malicious pages use a trusted TLS certificate, they appear to be safe for online shoppers who unknowingly provide sensitive account information and payment data.

Venafi senior threat intelligence analyst Jing Xie says, “Domain spoofing has always been a cornerstone technique of web attacks that focus on social engineering, and the movement to encrypt all web traffic does not shield legitimate retailers against this very common technique.”

“Because malicious domains now must have a legitimate TLS certificate in order to function, many companies feel that certificate issuers should own the responsibility of vetting the security of these certificates. In spite of significant advances in the best practices followed by certificate issuers, this is a really bad idea.”

Xie says, “No organisation should rely exclusively on certificate authorities to detect suspicious certificate requests.”

“For example, cyber attackers recently set up a lookalike domain for NewEgg, a website with over 50 million visitors a month. The lookalike domain used a trusted TLS certificate issued by the CA who followed all the best practices and baseline requirements.

“This phishing website was used to steal account and credit card data for over a month before it was shut down by security researchers.”

According to Venafi’s research, there has been an explosion in the number of potentially fraudulent domains.

There are more than double the number of lookalike domains compared to legitimate domains, and every online retailer studied is being targeted.

Key findings from the research include:

  • The total number of certificates for lookalike domains is more than 200% greater than the number of authentic retail domains.
  • Among the top 20 online German retailers, there are almost four times more lookalike domains than valid domains.
  • Major retailers present larger targets for cyber criminals. One of the top 20 US retailers has over 12,000 lookalike domains targeting their customers.
  • The growth in lookalike domains appears to be connected to the availability of free TLS certificates; 84% of the look-alike domains studied use free certificates from Let’s Encrypt.

As the holiday shopping season approaches, there will likely be an increase in lookalike domains. For online retailers that discover malicious domains, they can take several steps to protect their customers:

  • Search and report suspicious domains using Google Safe Browsing. Google Safe Browsing is an industry anti-phishing service that identifies and blacklists dangerous websites. Retailers can report a domain on the Google Safe Browsing site.
  • Report suspicious domains to the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG). The APWG is an international volunteer organisation that focuses on limiting cyber crime perpetrated through phishing. Retailers can report a suspicious domain at their site.
  • Add Certificate Authority Authorization (CAA) to the DNS records of domains and subdomains. CAA lets organisations determine which CAs can issue certificates for domains they own. It is an extension of the domain’s DNS record and supports property tags that let domains owners set CA policy for entire domains or for specific hostnames.
  • Leverage software packages to search for suspicious domains. Copyright infringement software may help retailers find malicious websites, stopping the unauthorised use of their logos or brands. Solutions that also provide anti-phishing functionality can help aid in the search for look-alike domains.

“Ultimately, we should expect even more malicious lookalike websites designed for social engineering to pop up in the future,” says Xie.

“In order to protect themselves, enterprises need effective means to discover domains that have a high probability of being malicious through monitoring and analysing certificate transparency logs.

“This way, they can leverage many recent industry advances to spot high-risk certificate registrations, crippling malicious sites before they cause damage by taking away their certificates.”

Source bizEDGE New Zealand

NZTech’s Graeme Muller on the R&D tax incentive

Thursday, October 4th, 2018

 

NZTech chief executive Graeme Muller has stated that the new research and development tax incentive introduced today by the government will ‘go a long way to helping inject even more growth into the tech sector’.

His full statement follows:

“Given the aim of introducing an R&D tax incentive was to support a broader range of eligible firms, it was excellent to see that the government has listened through the consultation process and taken on board advice to reduce the minimum level to $50,000 and increase the rate to 15%.

“New Zealand’s new R&D incentive scheme places us competitively with other leading tech nations such as Israel and the Netherlands who have very similar rates. The most positive change is the way R&D is being defined, removing a focus on scientific research to instead look at systematic approaches to solving scientific and technical uncertainty.

“This and other work the government has undertaken with tech firms to understand how they operate has resulted in a set of rules that should support the growing software sector. Introducing refundability of tax credits as a way to address the challenges of stimulating R&D in pre-profit firms was a clever way of enabling some of our highest growth tech firms to engage.

“This has been introduced for one year initially which will provide time for further consultation with the market to ensure an appropriate scheme is designed.

“Delaying the closure of the current growth grant scheme and allowing current recipients to apply for extensions should mean that most firms undertaking research via this method have an opportunity to complete the research or transition in time to the tax incentive scheme with little negative impact on their business.

“The government has acknowledged that there is still fine-tuning to do and that there will be some further simplification of rules, both of which should help ensure the new R&D tax incentive scheme is enduring and sustainable.”

The NZTech release says that the proof of its success will be in the implementation.

Tax guidelines always take a bit of time to bed in however with the government position being one of ongoing consultation and engagement we are confident that this is the start of a new era for R&D growth in New Zealand and further acceleration of the fastest growing sector.

New Zealand has a growing number of successful software firms like Xero, Pushpay, Soul Machines and Vend who spend significant amounts on R&D as their products need constant development.

The R&D incentive will promote New Zealand tech and innovation to the world and support the growth of the fastest growing and third biggest industry in the country.

Source bizEDGE New Zealand

Launch Club: Startup Activation Programme

Thursday, October 4th, 2018

Commencing 25 October

Dates/Time and Where

Thu, 25/10/2018, 5:30 PM – Thu, 29/11/2018, 7:30 PM – Where? Kahukara Building, Ara Institute of Canterbury, Moorhouse Avenue, Christchurch

Launch Club is Ministry of Awesome’s Startup Activation programme tailored for early-stage entrepreneurs who want to spend focused time developing their venture and defining their pathway to success.

The programme will include:

  • Six 2-hour training workshops

                     and

  • 4 x 30-minute mentoring sessions with the Ministry of Awesome’s Startup Activator

Programme Structure

Vision and Customer Discovery

This first session focuses first on gaining clarity around the ‘why’ of your venture.  We will focus on developing your startup’s ‘Vision’, ‘Mission’, and your long-term goals.   Then, for the second half of our session, we will work on identifying the market need and your potential customers.  You will learn the process of customer discovery, how to identify your early adopters, and defining an impactful value proposition.

Thursday 25th October 2018

Prototyping and Validation

This session takes a critical look at your product or service, explores your pricing and business model, then shows you how to quickly test your product with potential customers and optimise until you have traction. You will understand how to use prototyping to validate your product with your customers and what to do with their feedback in order to ensure your product meets a robust customer need.

Thursday 1st November 2018

 Business Model & Pricing

In this session, we’re going to explore different types of business models and how each can be the key to building a sustainable enterprise.  You will through the lean business canvas and work through various business models to see which creates the best outcomes. You will then apply the detail – estimating the size of your market, what pricing might apply, what percentage of the market you might gain.  Finally, you will validate these assumptions.

Thursday 8th November 2018

Marketing

Intelligent marketing drives growth.    In this session, we will look at how to develop a brand and support it with impactful storytelling.  We will look at how to develop an overarching marketing strategy and review some tactics that will execute that strategy.    You will gain a solid introduction to various marketing channels, tools, and techniques that can help you build awareness of your venture with your target customers.

Thursday 15th November 2018

Sales

Developing and maintaining a successful sales pipeline will be your single biggest challenge as an entrepreneur. In this interactive workshop,  participants will be introduced to various sales strategies, techniques, and the importance of developing a robust sales pipeline. This session will help in developing an understanding of the sales process and will teach you how to powerfully communicate your venture’s value proposition in order to achieve traction.

 Thursday 22nd November 2018

Success metrics, legal foundations, and next steps.

Having a grip on your success metrics is key to running a successful business operation.

Our experienced accountant will show you which metrics to track to understand a company’s performance in real time.  Then we will look at the legal set up of your young business reviewing issues such as intellectual property, company ownership, licensing, and customer agreements.

In the second half of this session, we will concentrate on your very next steps and how to build accountability into your growth process.  We will also look at developing strategic partnerships and how to effectively communicate your elevator pitch and build powerful networks.

Thursday 29th November 2018 – Book now https://www.eventbrite.co.nz/e/launch-club-startup-activation-programme-tickets-50627229406

Christchurch Antarctic Ignite talk – by ‘Changemakers’

Thursday, September 27th, 2018

If you love everything Antarctica you’ll love our launch event for Antarctic Season Opening:

THE CHRISTCHURCH ANTARCTIC IGNITE TALK by ‘Changemakers’

DATE AND TIME

Thu. 27 September 2018 at 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Add to Calendar

LOCATION

La Vida conference Centre, 34A Hansons Lane,Upper Riccarton,Christchurch

View Map

It’s FREE, so head on down to Upper Riccarton on Thursday!

Book here https://www.eventbrite.co.nz/e/christchurch-antarctic-ignite-talk-by-changemakers-tickets-49927872611?utm_source=eb_email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=reminder_attendees_48hour_email&utm_term=eventname

Antarctica is a complex, challenging and expensive business. Get a glimpse behind the scenes and hear about everything from killer whales to aviation through the eyes of ten, mostly Kiwi, Antarctic changemakers. Each speaker has 20 slides and just 20 seconds per slide to ignite your interest. Presentations are concise, and the atmosphere promises to be lively and fun.

Programme:

7:00 pm First 5 speakers

7:45 pm 15 min intermission

8:00 pm Second 5 speakers

8:45 pm Thank our speakers.

This is just one of many Christchurch events to celebrate this week’s Antarctic Season Opening. (The first flight south is on Monday.) Check out the full programme here

Start-up key issues (includes structures for social enterprises, governance, key documents and other common questions…) in Podcasts

Tuesday, September 18th, 2018

https://itunes.apple.com/nz/podcast/seeds/id1281908185?mt=2&i=1000419480861

 

 

Seeds is a Christchurch podcast telling good stories with dozens of interviews featuring entrepreneurs, start-ups, tech leaders, academics, social enterprises and charities on their journeys, what they do and why…..

 

www.seeds.libsyn.com

Ministry of Awesome – This week’s Startup Breakfast Club-

Monday, September 17th, 2018

Friday 21 September- 7.00am

Ministry of Awesome’s STARTUP BREAKFAST CLUB powered by MYOB is
your monthly morning caffeine hit where you will find valuable social networks, gain business insight, and find the critical support you need to power your startup business forward.

At this month’s Breakfast Club, we’ll explore Growth Hacking with our panel of experienced growth experts including Owen Scott from Concentrate, Nick Burnsfrom Sell More Tech, Melissa Baer from Vibrant Farms, and Shelley Magic from MYOB.  Growth hacking is all about rapidly iterating marketing and sales strategies that drive startup growth.

For a startup, growth is everything – it is the only metric that matters when all is said and done. So come along, get your caffeine and Bacon Brothers hit and let’s get that startup humming.

Makeover of 2 Meeting Rooms at EPIC

Wednesday, September 12th, 2018

We have had a makeover on two of our meeting rooms known as Room C and Room D, and now known as Room C (Lazoplod) and  Room D (Colonel Jack) .

Each room has been freshly painted, had a window installed fitted with a blind, a 49 inch TV Screen with Chrome Cast and new Acoustic Panels. It is the acoustic panel that has been decorated with the artwork

Thanks to Weta Workshop for permission to use their artwork

Meeting Room C (Lazoplod)

Meeting Room D (Colonel Jack)

Tickets for TEDxYouth@AvonRiver 2018 go on sale tonight at 7pm!

Tuesday, September 11th, 2018

 

 

 

Like TEDxChristchurch, TEDxYouth@AvonRiver is independently organised and produced by volunteers; however, these volunteers are youth, producing an event specifically for youth.

If you missed out on TEDxChristchurch tickets (or even if you didn’t, you lucky duck!) and you’re 25 or younger, this TEDxYouth@AvonRiver event is for you!

Tickets will be released tonight at 7pm at this link — make sure you bookmark it so you don’t miss out!

Read more about the speaker lineup for this event on the TEDxYouth@AvonRiver website, and stay in the loop on their Facebook page.

Bookmark this link for TEDxYouth@AvonRiver tickets.

TEDxYouth@AvonRiver 2018: Key Information

  • When: 10am-3:30pm on Sunday, 14 October
  • Where: Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū
  • Who can attend: Folks 25 or younger on the day of the event

Host your own TEDxChristchurch 2018: The Campfire viewing party!

If you’re unable to attend this year’s TEDxChristchurch event, the next best thing is to host an official viewing party so your friends, family, and colleagues can watch the talks with you.

It’s easy-peasy — we provide content to help you create a Facebook event, as well as give you an MC shout-out from the main stage on the day, and you get to sit back and watch the event from the comfort of your own home, school, or library!

Let us know if you’d like to get in on the viewing party fun this year.

With thanks to our generous sponsors:

Computer Concepts LimitedChristchurch City CouncilDavis Ogilvie
Wayne Francis Charitable TrustHummingbird Coffee

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The search for New Zealand’s most innovative and promising food and beverage start-up is underway.

Tuesday, September 11th, 2018

Does your new food or beverage product have what it takes to fly off supermarket shelves? If the answer is “YES!” – then this is the competition that will change your life.

If you win:

  • 1. Your product will be stocked on New World supermarket shelves across the South Island
  • AND
  • 2. You’ll get a team of growth experts to help you build a successful and sustainable Canterbury-supported business

New World and the Ministry of Awesome have teamed up to find New Zealand’s most innovative start-up (or young business). The FoodStarter competition is searching for someone with drive and passion and an innovative new food or beverage product to take to market.

The winner receives a package of tangible prizes worth more than $95,000. BUT the biggie is the chance to set up a manufacturing base in Canterbury and guaranteed placement of your product in New World supermarkets across the South Island.


The biggest challenge for any food or beverage startup is getting to market…

New World has that covered! The winner will get the full support of its product development, merchandise and retail experts to create your go to market strategy. Bigger still; the winning product will receive distribution and placement into New Worlds across the South Island and that’s PRICELESS!

You also get a powerhouse of expertise and support from startup and sector experts right across the food and beverage industry. 

Canterbury is a hot bed of opportunity and business innovation and it’s the perfect HQ for a high-growth food and beverage entrepreneur’s bold ambitions. The winner will benefit from some of the best brains in business.

Fast-moving food and beverage can be a hard business to break into, so you need to be a passionate and committed entrepreneur. FoodStarter gives you the full support of New Zealand’s largest supermarket in a priceless opportunity to accelerate your business. Enter for the opportunity to see your innovative product flying off supermarket shelves across the South Island.

The Prize Package

One lucky food and beverage startup wins guaranteed placement of their product in New World supermarkets across the South Island!

That same lucky winner also gets a business acceleration package worth more than $95,000 which includes:

New World Support

Go to market, sell-in, and sell-throgh strategy support provided by the New Zealand category, merchandising and retail teams and guaranteed distribution and retail space in New World South Island stores.

Expert Startup Support

Provided by the startup activator team at the Ministry of Awesome alongside experienced mentorship from Christchurch’s dynamic startup ecosystem.

A Canterbury HQ for one year 

At Blinc Innovation and AwesomeHQ where you’ll love the surroundings and constant opportunities for collaboration with other like-minded entrepreneurs.

Specialist Support

Provided by Foodsouth who are expert food and beverage product development, amrket analysis, and helping you to grow your business and make connections.

Design and Marketing Genius

Provided by Strategy Creative.

Media Coverage

Ongoing national, South Island and Regional PR, marketing and media opportunities via Stuff and your association with FoodStarter competition.

How it works:

Entries open on 10 September and close at 11:59pm on Sunday, 7 October 2018 

ENTER!

September
10

Click here and find out about the competition criteria

Entries close

October
7

Entries Close at 11.59pm

The Final Cut

October
10

After close scrutiny by our expert panel, the Top 5 shortlisted entries will be announced

Pressure Cooker

October
31

The Top 5 finalists present to our judging panel in Christchurch with the winner announced on the night.

Accelerate!

Early 2019

The winner gets started in the business acceleration programme.

Off to Market

Spring 2019

Your winning product hits New World shelves across the South Island!

Kiwi kids and parents work together to create a safer internet

Monday, September 10th, 2018

hough parents may sometimes feel the internet is a dangerous and unknown place for their children, the reality is that the Internet is an integral part of New Zealand kids’ lives.

Kiwi kids spend up to 33 hours a week online outside of school, using the internet as an encyclopedia, a movie cinema, a games arcade and a way to connect with friends.

There are more than 3 billion internet users worldwide. There are also more than 6 billion mobile phones and of these over 1 billion of those are smartphones.

With all of these devices available to kids access to the internet has become easier than ever.

85% of kids and teens see the internet as important to their lives, Trend Micro hopes to remind parents of this while facilitating an open and positive discussion around internet safety in their upcoming ‘What’s Your Story?’ competition.

Kicking off on 3 September, the competition will run until November 4th and asks children aged 5-12 to create a poster illustrating what the good side of the internet looks like, and what positive things they see happening on there.

There are 12 prizes available worth a total prize pool of $13,000.

The public will decide 15 finalists in each prize category and from there, the winners will be determined by an impressive judging panel, including, Techday, Netsafe, Twitter, and Facebook and Life Education.

The competition is an initiative by Trend Micro to reframe some of the negative connotations around internet safety and empower New Zealand’s youth to be responsible, successful and secure online.

You can find out more by clicking here. 

Artificial intelligence: Marketing’s new best friend?

Monday, September 10th, 2018

Could artificial intelligence (AI) be marketing’s new best friend? According to sentiment at this week’s AIMCON event in Auckland, AI could bring enormous value to marketing as an enabler that helps people, not one that takes away their jobs.

AIMCON brought together marketers with the aim of inspiring people to rethink the way they design and build interactions, manage datasets, and how they leverage emerging technology.

Speakers at the event included Qrious CEO Nathalie Morris, Vodafone head of mobile Byron Powell, Konnector Founder Glenn Marvin, IBM Watson Customer Engagement Asia Pacific CMO liaison lead Jodie Sangster, and many others.

According to AIMCON founder Justin Flitter, New Zealand is one of the best places to explore how marketing can use AI.

“A vast majority of businesses in New Zealand start and stay as SMEs, but grow big in confidence and capability. By empowering organisations to leverage Artificial Intelligence within their business structure, we can truly become world leaders in the AI tech space.”

He adds that marketers are starting to understand how the customer experience can benefit from AI such as digital assistants, natural language processing, and automation.

“I want to focus on what’s accessible in New Zealand to us today that we can use and start implementing.”

AI can also be used across automation, chatbots, consumer insights, customer experience, on-boarding and many other areas.

Clearpoint CEO Hamish Rumbold spoke at the event and noted that voice as a tool is on the rise.

Voice activated technology like Google Home and Amazon Echo are expected to be massively popular – the market may reach $40 billion by 2022 just in the US alone.

“Voice is the new search and the next wave of commerce – it’s also, in my opinion, the first real change we will all experience that will be driven by deep learning,” Rumbold says..

“It’s predicted that 50% of search will be made by voice, powered by AI, by 2020.  This has massive implications for marketers.”

There’s also a possibility that voice-driven tools could also humanise communication again and take the focus away from solo-driven activities such as reading and typing on screens.

“Artificial intelligence is making significant improvements to human communication in ways that seemed impossible over a decade ago. Innovative tools are able to enhance marketing by uncovering entirely new ways of creating and distributing value to customers,” a statement from the conference says.

“AI-partnered marketing tools such as biometrics, voice search, and chatbots can provide a more comprehensive view of customer behaviour, predictive analytics, and deeper insights that benefit consumers and marketers alike.”

AIMCON conference partners included: Clearpoint, IBM, Qrious, JRNY, Spacetime, Generator, Konnector and Storicom.

Technology workshops at 3 Christchurch Schools!

Monday, September 3rd, 2018

 

I LOVE Christchurch! Just ran Technology workshops at 3 Christchurch Schools! Received this incredible email from the Principal of Diamond Harbour: “The session was very different to what some of the girls had expected. They were surprised to find that instead of ‘just going to hear someone speak’ the facts and information was interspersed with fun stories and activities. The students left the session buzzing, and on the way back to school in my car (a 40 minute drive) they were planning how they were going to, as young women, change the world. That afternoon in fact, a group of the students started planning an app to help people both measure their carbon footprint and be provided with tips, tricks and motivation to reduce their carbon footprint. It was great to see Alexia role model that young people don’t have to wait until they are ‘grown up’ before they can take action and change the world.” These free workshops were made possible thanks to EPIC Innovation Christchurch Wil McLellan, Colin Andersen, & Henry Lane hashtagtechnology hashtagGirlBossNZ hashtagchristchurch

Immigration changes bring welcome booster to NZ’s regional businesses

Friday, August 31st, 2018

Sara Barker 

Recent changes to immigration settings for international students mean there are now many more opportunities for New Zealand businesses to reach for the global stage.

That’s according to ChristchurchNZ, which believes that businesses in Christchurch and other regional centres can now harness international student talent.

This month the government announced changes that attract higher-skilled talent to the regions instead of just Auckland, which is good news for businesses – especially businesses in Christchurch.

ChristchurchNZ programme manager of international education, Bree Loverich, says migrant workers are essential to the region’s increasing skills shortage.

By 2031, Christchurch will face a talent shortage of 73,000 people, so it’s important to attract and retain talented workers in order to remain competitive.

Bree says the new immigration settings will attract international students that are studying higher-level degrees. The higher the qualification, the more post-study work rights the students will have.

“This provides students with a pathway to residence who have the skills that our businesses need.”

“Cities must compete for capable people which is far easier when that global talent already has a connection to the city, community and friends via education,” she continues.

“Rather than recruit migrants via immigration skilled labour initiatives, international education develops a global talent pool of students whom are trained in New Zealand, in English, and are Kiwi culturally aware.”

ChristchurchNZ also believes that international people offer talent, cultural insights and connections that can help businesses commercialise innovation.

Although Canterbury is known for its innovation and investment into new things, businesses need to work on translating this innovation into economic outcomes.

ChristchurchNZ adds that lack of workplace diversity and lack of knowledge about international markets can stifle the process of bringing a product to market.

If businesses leverage international talent that is already in the regions, businesses have a better chance of success.

One business that has been uplifted by an international internship is Lincoln Agritech. It hired a Chinese intern through ChristchurchNZ’s Job Ready Programme.

Intern James Wang helped to develop the company’s China distribution plan and he is now a fulltime employee.

According to Lincoln Agritech CEO Peter Barrowclough, he quickly recognised the value Wang’s international experience could offer.

“James’ international agricultural experience and lingual skills made him a pivotal part of our company’s overseas expansion,” explains Barrowclough.

ChristchurchNZ says Lincoln Agritech is one of many Christchurch companies engaged with the Job Ready Programme, developed to support international students’ pathways to employment and help small to medium enterprises realise the potential of the global, yet local, talent pool and gain essential workforce development capability available on their doorsteps.

“This talent pipeline offers the cultural expertise that Canterbury businesses need to scale and commercialise their products and services offshore,” Bree concludes.

One & Done – Community101

Friday, August 24th, 2018

Come and network with the community101 members. Finish the week on a fun and positive note with your colleagues. This event is held every Friday fortnightly, (next event 31 August) for members who have booked in to use community101.

https://www.facebook.com/community101chch

Christchurch: The city & its graduates undergoing tech transformation

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2018

Sara Barker 

If there’s one city in New Zealand that has been in a constant state of transformation, Christchurch stands out – and it’s shaping graduates’ lives in the process.

As the new generation of talent joins the central city workforce at a time when Christchurch is shaping its new identity, it’s bringing plenty of opportunity for graduates.

Orbica location data specialist Will Jones is one of those graduates. He says that coming into the workforce when the city is coming together is cool – and it’s influencing who he is today.

“For the last seven years, we haven’t really had the city there, so it’s pretty cool seeing it come together when I’m working in town and being a part of that.”

Jones completed a postgraduate diploma in geographic information systems (GIS) from the University of Canterbury, and quickly joined local geospatial firm Orbica at the start of this year.

Orbica is located in Christchurch’s Innovation Precinct. It is surrounded by co-working spaces including Greenhouse, BizDojo, Epic, and the Ministry of Awesome – all of which make up a creative and connected tech sector.

“There’s definitely quite a vibe going on in the Innovation Precinct. There are lots of events every week – lots more going on than I can attend, if that gives you an idea,” Jones says.

He believes that working in Christchurch also gives people the chance to connect and collaborate with the city’s tech, business, and geospatial communities.

“I’m getting to know people in the industry, because last year I didn’t really know anyone and now I know quite a few people from different companies and universities,” he continues.

Jones was part of a team that made the finalists of the NZ Space Challenge as part of Techweek’18.

But it’s not just Techweek’18 that lights up the city: The Ministry of Awesome holds regular Coffee & Jam sessions, bringing together the city’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. The Canterbury Tech Cluster also run monthly events which bring together the best and brightest of the city’s tech community.

Jones says that he was able to get an internship at Orbica thanks to the strong connections between the city’s tertiary sector and the business community. That internship eventually led to fulltime employment.

“I really like living here because outside of work I can go skiing and biking, play football or go surfing – all those good things. That’s the benefit Christchurch has for me,” Jones concludes.

How open source is driving innovation in A/NZ  

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2018

Recently IT Brief had the opportunity to talk to GitHub executive Paul St John about their acquisition by Microsoft, A/NZ expansion plans and their vision for open source.

Can you tell me a bit more about GitHub’s relationship with Microsoft?

We’ve always had a relationship with Microsoft and throughout the years they have been a big user of ours. In fact, a lot of Microsoft’s ‘crown jewels’ are based off open source. They’re also one of our largest open source contributors.

So they saw a very interesting thing happen when they put their code on GitHub, they noticed that the number of people contributing to the value of their code base grew exponentially. They now had the whole world looking at it, as opposed to just inside their own four walls, so they saw a lot of benefit from having their code there. So the relationship grew from that.

Another thing that really impressed us was Microsoft’s desire to bring the best tools to developers. For us, that’s really important because it’s the developers who are building the future.

How has the recent acquisition impacted business?

So right now we are in the regulatory stage, which means we can’t interact with each other. Other than our ISP partnership of course. However, I believe the impact will be great once the close happens.

For instance, Microsoft has access to companies that we would love to get an introduction to. I also believe what will happen is Microsoft and GitHub will work together to ensure that all the best tools are available to developers on the GitHub platform.

I think the acquisition will have a really good impact on the business.

What is GitHub’s current growth strategy, especially on the Enterprise side of things?

We’ve always been a tool, so up until now it’s been land and expand. We’re still going to pursue that, however, GitHub is also becoming more of a platform sale, especially around security. We look at the fact that we have so much intelligence in the code base that we can utilise that data to inform businesses how to operate and work with their code.

We want developers to be able to set up their toolchains very quickly and we can help make that happen.

So assisting developers with toolchains and helping businesses with their code is the future for us and that is how we aim to grow. That is especially true for the A/NZ region.

Let’s chat about open source for a bit, in your opinion what makes it so popular?

I think it’s all about what the developer can get out of open source. It’s easy to use, for instance, GitHub flow is one of the easiest ways developers can communicate with each other regardless of where they are around the world.

We’ve been working hard to make sure that the open source community has access to the best way of coding. We also pride ourselves on working with that community and really listening to their feedback.

The second thing that makes open source so popular is the fact that everyone is there. It’s a place where a passionate community comes together.

The reason businesses like it so much is because open source code can propel innovation within the business very fast. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, all business need to do is grab what they need. So it really acts as an accelerant.

Open source is quickly becoming mainstream and the community behind it just keeps on growing.

Legal Mashup is back!

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2018

Hosted By Parry Field Lawyers

Sep 04, 2018 @ 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm

Exchange Christchurch – XCHC, 376 Wilsons Road North, Christchurch, New Zealand, 8011

RSVP TO stevenmoe@parryfield.com

 

The Legal Mashup is back!! With a focus on social enterprises, not-for profits and charities, Parry Field Lawyers will be having another free evening of discussions on the topics you want to hear about. RSVP and send us an email with a question or topic you want to be covered to stevenmoe@parryfield.com and we will add it to the list and cover all we can!