Archive for the ‘News’ Category

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

Tuesday, September 18th, 2018



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…..

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 



Click here and find out about the competition criteria

Entries close


Entries Close at 11.59pm

The Final Cut


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

Pressure Cooker


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


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.

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



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 and we will add it to the list and cover all we can!

Christchurch’s Ara Institute is about to get ‘awesome’

Friday, August 17th, 2018

The hub will launch on October 15 and it promises to bring mentorship, education, resources, pitch opportunities, networking, and many other opportunities.

According to the Ministry of Awesome, Christchurch and Canterbury need an ecosystem that nurtures startups, entrepreneurs, and innovators. They created the new hub to be the cornerstone of the city’s innovation ecosystem, and to help Christchurch reinforce its prowess as a place of innovation and technology.

The new partnership community will bring almost 25,000 members into the fold. Ministry of Awesome says this provides an unprecedented opportunity to work together, network, and to build on shared goals.

Ministry of Awesome’s chief awesome officer, Marian Johnson, says this is a chance for Canterbury to collaborate on a whole new level.

“Ministry of Awesome will continue with the momentum building leadership role we are playing in the start-up and innovation space, but with even greater impact as we partner with Ara’s 19,000-strong learning and knowledge community,” she says.

“This community has huge potential and with access to the Ministry of Awesome’s guidance, capability training and networks, we will grow something extraordinary. The door is wide open for participation. We want to encourage anyone with an idea, an innovation, or a start-up venture in mind to reach out and join the community,” Johnson continues.

The Ministry of Awesome hub will open at the Kahukura building facing Moorhouse Avenue on the Ara campus.

Ara’s head of business Department, Michaela Blacklock, says this partnership is not just about growing the city, but also about social change.

“This partnership is not only aligned with the goals of Christchurch NZ – to ignite bold ambition in our city and region, to connect changemakers and to stimulate economic activity – but it will also enable greater consideration of social and community change. It is an exciting time in the region with an abundance of creativity, innovation and big ideas,” Blacklock explains.

The partnership will bring:

  • Joint access to the entrepreneur-rich, progressive, and well-networked Ministry of Awesome community and Ara Institute of Canterbury student body.
  • A mentorship programme provided by sector and ecosystem leaders, experienced entrepreneurs, and professional service providers.
  • Customised education and capability building through Ministry of Awesome and Ara.
  • Business and social enterprise incubation programmes designed to provide the right support, at the right time, and in the right way.
  • Access to resources and advice provided by service partners such as legal, ICT, and business administration.
  • Opportunities to pitch and expose start-ups to local, national, and global investors and corporate partners.
  • 100+ events per year for networking, collaboration, and knowledge sharing.
  • A fixed “home” in which to network, collaborate and be surrounded with like-minded people.

source bizEDGE NZ


Govt forms Small Business Council to drive SME growth

Wednesday, August 15th, 2018

Sara Barker 

The government has announced the appointment of a Small Business Council that will make it easier for small businesses to connect with government, large businesses, and research institutions.

Last week Small Business Minister Stuart Nash announced the Council and its 13 appointees, which will advise the government on opportunities for improving the SMB sector.

“Small business is the backbone of the economy, making up 97% of New Zealand businesses and employing over 600,000 Kiwis,” Nash says.

“My priorities for the Small Business portfolio have focussed on modernising the way we do business. I want to make sure SMEs are well placed to maximise future opportunities and play their part in helping create a sustainable, productive and inclusive New Zealand economy.”

Nash says the Council has a fixed term of one year to deliver a tightly-focused mandate.

“The Council will help the government develop a strategy to drive improvement and innovation in the small business sector. It will play an important role in lifting the performance of New Zealand’s many small enterprises,” he explains.

The Small Business Council will be chaired by longtime SME champion Tenby Powell. University of Auckland academic Dr Deborah Shepherd is deputy chair.

To help meet objectives, Nash says he cast a wide net for Council members and sought out some of New Zealand’s largest enterprises for the initiative.

“Firms and organisations like Xero, The Icehouse, Fonterra, Chambers of Commerce and the Sustainable Business Network are represented. The Council includes representatives from small and large businesses, financial institutions, academia, education providers, tax experts and government agencies,” Nash says.

“Significant shifts in technology, the global trading environment, and domestic policy settings always present challenges for businesses. The time has come to establish a specialist group to consider some of these strategic issues over a longer timeframe, and pull together advice from a range of institutions and practitioners.”

The Council will also focus on current government priorities, including the digital economy, regional and infrastructure development, tax policy, trade and export growth, skills development, access to finance, and streamlining government processes.

It will also provide advice on whether there is a case for establishing a Small Business Institute within a New Zealand tertiary institution. Nash has now formally disestablished the Small Business Development Group, which has been in recess since June 2017.

“We want to see our SMEs thrive. The Small Business Council brings together some of the best talent from across the spectrum and I look forward to working together to develop a small business strategy that best reflects the needs of the sector,” Nash concludes.

The Small Business Council Members are:

  • Terry Baucher: Director of Baucher Consulting Ltd
  • Rachel Brown: CEO/founder of Sustainable Business Network
  • Anthony Buick-Constable: Deputy chief executive and general counsel of NZ Bankers Association
  • Nicole Buisson: Small Business director, Xero
  • Jim Gordon: Director of Jim Gordon Tax Ltd
  • Andy Hamilton: CEO The Icehouse Ltd, director of FaceMe Limited
  • Jerry He: Chairman of Asia Pacific MSMEs Trade Coalition
  • Allison Lawton:  Chief executive of Rotorua Chamber of Commerce
  • Tenby Powell: Director of Hunter Powell Investment Partners
  • Alison Brewer Shearer: General manager, Fonterra Shareholders’ Council
  • Dr Deborah Shepherd: Senior lecturer – University of Auckland Business School, Facilitator at the Icehouse
  • Tania Siladi: Co-owner/director of Dragonfly Hospitality Group Limited, co-owner/director of Asian Food Republic
  • Leeann Watson: Chief executive of Canterbury Employer’s Chamber of Commerce

NZ and Aussie tech girls become superheroes in Silicon Valley

Tuesday, August 14th, 2018

Sara Barker 

The next generation of New Zealand and Australian female entrepreneurs had the chance to pitch their apps to Silicon Valley’s top executives and engineers.

Five teams of schoolgirls from regions including Invercargill, Adelaide, Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Sydney travelled to Silicon Valley as part of the Brisbane-founded Tech Girls are Superheroes programme.

The teams spent a week pitching to global tech companies including Facebook, Accenture, Google, IBM, eBay, Nvidia, Nutanix, and Salesforce.

All teams were selected after winning the 2017 Search for the Next Tech Girl Superhero competition either as state or national winners. They beat 1000 other girls to take out the top spots.

CEO Dr Jenine Beekhuyzen is the woman behind the Tech Girls are Superheroes programme. She created the twelve-week STEM entrepreneurship programme to teach girls how to build apps, business plans, and pitches to solve a community problem, while growing their technical and business skills along the way.

“The girls showed real confidence in pitching their solutions, and the execs were amazed with what they have produced, and how well they pitch and respond to difficult questions,” Dr Beekhuyzen says.

“They are extraordinary STEM ambassadors for Australia and New Zealand and certainly entrepreneurs who will change the world.”

The girls also pitched their apps to the leader of Australian startup Skedulo while they were in San Francisco. The CEO explained his entrepreneurial startup journey and how it led him to the United States.

“The girls are even forming partnerships to create their app to a wider audience and are really entrepreneurs in the making,” Dr Beehhuyzen says.

According to Kara Griggs, a teacher at Australia’s Pacific Pines Primary School, the experience of visiting some of the world’s biggest tech company was expiring and extraordinary.

This truly was a trip of a lifetime, and it was invaluable not only for the girls but for us as coaches and teachers with us all getting so much out of it,” Griggs says.

Chaperoning teacher Susanna Anderson from South Australian school St. Peters Girls School commented how Adelaide girls often get overlooked for these kinds of opportunities.

“It was such a unique experience, and we are all inspired by tech and have had our eyes opened to the future,” Anderson says.

It’s the third year Dr Beekhuyzen has led a trip to Silicon Valley with winners from the annual Search for the Next Tech Girl Superhero competition.

The 2018 competition has just concluded with more than 1000 girls vying for the top prize and a trip to Silicon Valley in 2019.

NZ/AU research to uncover how SMEs can harness the digital economy

Tuesday, August 14th, 2018

Sara Barker 

The New Zealand Productivity Commission will work with its Australian counterpart on a new research project that will look at how both countries can grow the digital economy and provide more opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises.

The Government has asked the New Zealand and Australian Productivity Commissions to work together on the project, which is due to begin in September.

The project is titled Growing the digital economy and maximising opportunities for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).

It will explore how institutional and regulatory settings in the two countries can support the use of digital technology and, in particular, how small and medium enterprises can maximise the opportunities from digital transformation.

The New Zealand Finance Minister Grant Robertson outlines the scope of the research:

“Growth in digital technologies – and availability of the data that support them – has enabled a range of new business models, products and insights, providing new trade opportunities and opportunities to boost productivity,” Robertson says.

“In undertaking the research, the Productivity Commissions should explore the extent to which institutional and regulatory settings in the two countries support opportunities for the utilisation of digital technology.”

“In doing so, the Commissions should consider the ability of SMEs to benefit from trans-Tasman economic integration and digital technology, including barriers to entry or expansion and any factors specific to SMEs that might impede them harnessing the opportunities for digital technology.”

“The Productivity Commissions should focus their attention on areas that offer the greatest potential benefits to both economies.”

New Zealand Productivity Commission Chair Murray Sherwin welcomes the project. He says Australia and New Zealand have a long and close relationship.

“CER has been in place since 1983 and the Productivity Commissions of both countries jointly reviewed the CER relationship in 2012 ahead of the 30th anniversary of the milestone,” he notes.

“Trade in services “over the internet” was dealt with only lightly in that report. The digital economy has grown significantly since, and shows no signs of abating. It warrants further attention in the Single Economic Market context.”

The two Commissions don’t have too much time do conduct the research, as they need to present the findings to the two Prime Ministers in January 2019. They will also publish a full report of the results.

The New Zealand Productivity Commission – an independent Crown entity – was established in April 2011 and completes in-depth inquiry reports on topics selected by the Government, carries out productivity-related research, and promotes understanding of productivity issues.

Virtual reality could be the future of market research

Tuesday, August 14th, 2018

Massey University PhD candidate Alexander Schnack says virtual reality (VR) might be the future of marketing research – and he created his own business to take advantage of it.

As part of his doctoral thesis Schnack wanted to measure consumer responses to product packaging, but couldn’t find a reliable way to do it. He then turned to VR to solve the problem and founded a new market research business.

“I found that people would report buying items when, in reality, they didn’t. So I was looking for a different way of observing actual consumer behaviour when I came across VR,” Schnack says.

“I wondered why no one was using it for market research. I thought the time was right to jump into this VR gap because the first consumer VR headsets were released just as I began working on my PhD.”

With the help of a computer programmer and PhD supervisor Professor Malcom Wright, Schnack developed a VR system using an existing game engine.

By that stage, Schnack uncovered a more interesting research topic: Does purchase behaviour in a virtual environment closely resemble behaviour in a real environment?

“I’ve compared the results of desktop simulation and VR simulation and VR was better in terms of usability and telepresence, which describes the degree of involvement in a virtual environment. The higher the telepresence, the more realistic people’s behavior will be,” he says.

He believes that VR simulations mimic a real store. For example, you still have to bend down to pick something off the bottom shelf whereas with desktops, you just click on items.

“It offers a good trade-off between cost efficiency and realism. It’s much better than rudimentary tools like questionnaires, which are cheap, and a lot less expensive than test market initiatives, which cost millions because they require retailers to reconfigure their stores.”

He says VR is the future of market research, and companies such as Fonterra are also starting to experiment with it.

Professor Wright was impressed with the VR system, which Massey University’s spinout company Consumer Insights then licensed.

“We have already run several successful studies and we are now working with clients both nationally and internationally,” Wright says.

“Our business model scales up nicely, it’s internationally portable, and there are many related VR services that we could launch. So, we hope to give VR shopper research a really strong push, and just see how far we can take it.”

Schnack hopes Consumer Insights will also make VR-based research accessible to smaller firms.

“It offers marketers so much flexibility at a reasonable cost – they can test different package designs, changes in price, shelf positioning and labelling, store environment, colours, music and smells. You can also track the path people take through the store with heat maps, and where they spend the most time in terms of shelf positions and product categories,” Schnack says.

Both Professor Wright and Mr Schnack say VR will also have an impact on online sales in the future.

“It will make shopping online an entertainment experience as retailers will be able to offer an immersive retail environment to build their brands,” Schnack concludes.

Lightning Lab Govtech Accelerator Bootcamp Launches in Wellington today.

Tuesday, August 14th, 2018

The Accelerator Bootcamp will help teams prepare for the inaugural Lightning Lab GovTech, launching Monday 20th of August 2018.

[Wellington, New Zealand, 13 August 2018] Creative HQ is bringing together teams made up of local, central, and international government agencies for the Lightning Lab GovTech program – a structured and methodology-based experimentation environment for breakthrough innovation in the public sector, with the aim to deliver seamless solutions to real issues concerning governments today.

The program has been restructured based on Creative HQ’s experience as a delivery partner for the R9 Accelerator within the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. It is now run directly out of Creative HQ using the Lightning Lab model within a new space that has been specifically designed to enable maximum creativity and innovation.

The teams kick off their accelerator Bootcamp today with project director Jonnie Haddon saying “the energy here is incredible, each team has come prepared and ready to tackle the challenges ahead. Bootcamp is taste of what’s to come, and will be exhausting, but you learn so much during the week – it’s a real game changer.”

The projects in Lightning Lab GovTech cover Digital Identity, Equitable Digital Access, Freshwater Catchment Mapping, Water Resilience, Safer Seas for Albatross, Youth Engagement, Safety Planning, Accessibility in Wellington, Regional Businesses, Building Financial Capability, Connecting with our Community and Housing Affordability .

If you feel like you can help any of the teams or you’d simply like to follow their journey, you can keep up through our website, and our social media channels

Fleur Gunn, Acting Head of Marketing, Creative HQ or 04 381 4440

The Startup Breakfast Club…hosted by Ministry of Awesome

Friday, August 10th, 2018

The Startup Breakfast Club is your monthly morning caffeine hit where you’ll find valuable social networks, gain insight, and find support to power your venture forward.


This time, we’ll explore the importance of financial planning and goal setting, and discuss the added benefits of a financial support system – whether it be online or in person.

Thanks to our friends at MYOB there will be breakfast treats to keep your brain and tummy wide awake, and our friends at The Sailors Son will provide free-flowing coffee. It’s an absolutely FREE event, so claim your spot by registering now!

You won’t want to miss this great opportunity to network with like-minded entrepreneurs and to learn from industry veterans who have been through the start-up process and can help you along your journey.

Don’t miss out!

Register HERE by Wednesday, August 29th.

Our Panelists

  • Sam Ragnarsson  – Chieftain at The Kiwi Viking, CEO at Stickmen Media
  • Simon Challies  – Co-Founder at Braveheart Chch, Director at Kilmarnock Enterprises
  • Jenny Swanson-Edwards – MYOB’s SMEs Sales Manager

Tech Activator Sessions #34

Wednesday, August 8th, 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. You’ll get focused feedback from our Startup Activation Coordinator and a veteran panel of tech experts whose only aim is to help you towards success with solid feedback, shared connections, and recommended next steps.

It’s all 100% free. All you have to do is:

Select a 20-minute appointment that works for you and tell us about your idea or your business.
Feel free to bring along any materials that will assist you (notes, drawings, websites, photos, presentations, etc.) or just bring yourself.

These sessions are always sold out so please show up on time, get ready to focus, and gear up for a great session.

Click image below to register

NZ’s game development industry is booming – and it needs you

Friday, August 3rd, 2018

Source FutureFive NZ

New Zealand’s game development industry is booming, with both exports and employment in the sector climbing rapidly over the last year.

Not only has employment in the sector grown 10% to 550 full-time roles, but game developers have also earned a ‘record’ $143 million in the last financial year.

According to the survey by Tim Thorpe Consulting, 93% of that revenue came from what it calls ‘exports of digital creative entertainment software’.

And it’s no surprise – earlier this year global games giant Tencent handed over more than $100 million to buy local game studio Grinding Gear Games.

Bloons Tower Defence 6 by West Auckland-based Ninja Kiwi also became the number one paid app in the world, ranking above Minecraft, on both the Apple and Android app stores when it launched in June.

New Zealand Game Developers Association chairperson Michael Vermeulen says interactive entertainment combines two of the country’s most successful exports: creativity and code.

“The ten largest studios earned 94% of the revenue and employed 81% of the industry, and are eight years old on average. While those trailblazers have proven that games can be a sustainable and profitable business, we’re not seeing a pipeline of new fast-growing studios to join their ranks.”

“Since we’re competing in a global market New Zealand should have significantly more large studios. Our potential isn’t limited by New Zealand’s size,” says Vermeulen.

According to the survey, 63% of polled studios expect to grow more than 10% in the coming year. Many successes in the industry are also coming from their own creativity, rather than contract work for Hollywood studios or publishers.

But this approach comes with drawbacks. Although it’s the most profitable, it also requires more development and marketing, which is lacking in New Zealand.

That doesn’t stop local studios, however – 59% of studios say they’re independent self-publishers, while 20% mix contracting with their own IP. Seven percent go for specialisation in virtual reality or augmented reality.

Keen developers who want to get into the videogame industry may be in luck, as studios say they expect to employ another 130 people in the coming year.

Currently the 550 people in the sector include artists, programmers, marketing and management, game designers, quality assurance, and producers.

But the skills shortage comes with a bite: 24% of studios say shortages are slowing down their business growth. Seven studios employ 84 staff on work-supported visas – that’s equivalent to 15% of the entire industry.

What’s more, only 21% of employees are female. The Association runs programmes to attract and retain female game developers.

Game studios also face barriers including early-stage funding, expansion capital, the quality and experience of graduates, and attracting international projects.

New Zealand consumers spend $118.3 million on games from retail stores and $334 million on digital and mobile gaming last year.

Happy 17th Birthday to our tenant SLI-SYSTEMS today

Wednesday, August 1st, 2018

Community101- One & Done

Friday, July 27th, 2018

One & DoneHosted by Community101 3.30-4.30pm
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, for members who have booked in to use community101.

Register here

Community101 Lunch and Learn

Friday, July 27th, 2018

Lunch & Learn
Aug 2, 12:15 PM – 1:00 PM
Lunch & Learn is a free workshop for professionals, held the first week of every month. This is an opportunity to find out tips and gain professional advice from experts in other fields.

The workshops are designed for start-up companies, small business owners, and freelancers to take advantage of professional input from experts across different organisations, that could benefit their own business. These are free quality workshops, open to any professionals who wish to network and grow. You and your professional networks are invited to attend.

Sign up

Address: 111 Cashel St, Christchurch Central, Christchurch 8011
Open ⋅ Closes 4:30PM
Phone: 021 926 608

Tech Activator Sessions #34

Friday, July 27th, 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.


9 Aug 2018 2:00 PM


Awesome HQ, 192 St Asaph Street, Christchurch, 801


20 minutes sessions

The panel this time around consists of:

Krista Pritchard is a Business Coach to SEOs & start-ups as well as the Service Lead for Lean Business Analysis at Assurity Consulting Ltd. She brings over 12 years experience in understanding & communicating need, strategic & benefits analysis, & project leadership. She helps individuals & organisations better understand the value of initiatives so that they can prioritise and act in a way that drives benefit.

Pleayo Tovaranonte is a managing director of Rev3 Tech, a Christchurch-based technology company in the real estate/ construction industry ranging from Smart Home Automation, personal car lifts, and Augmented and Virtual Reality service helping clients visualise their development projects during their planning stages. As a doctorpreneur and medical technologist, he is also a managing director of Med-IT-Aid Ltd which provides independent consultancy to medical IT companies aiming to incorporate technology into mainstream healthcare. He has extensive governance experience in both the public and private sectors.

Jacob Varghese is our Startup Activation Coordinator. He was an investment banker before joining MoA and is passionate about entrepreneurship. He loves to work with young entrepreneurs and new businesses, particularly in digital technology, fintech, and transport sectors. He is an Economics graduate with a Post Graduate Diploma in Business.

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

Here’s how it works:

Select a 20-minute appointment that works for you and tell us about your idea or your business.

Feel free to bring along any materials that will assist you (notes, drawings, websites, photos, presentations, etc.) or just bring you.

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 Awesome HQ, 102 St Asaph Street, right in the heart of Christchurch’s Innovation Precinct.

To register click here.

Limitless Conference 2018 1/2/3 August

Thursday, July 19th, 2018


The Limitless Conference was launched in 2016, as the flagship program of the Limitless Charitable Trust. Limitless exists with a mission to equip young people to lead lives of passion and purpose, doing work that aligns with their strengths and values.

Since beginnings in 2016, we have built content in partnership with some incredible people who have expertise across a range of sectors, delivered a pilot program and three Conferences for Year 10s throughout Christchurch and Canterbury, and launched our Limitless Online Portal.

This year, we have had a focus on increasing the quality of our resources and content, to deliver our program to the highest level, and to set a strong foundation to build from for the future! As of the end of 2017 have reached 500 young people from 32 schools as of the end of 2017 – and aim to grow more, but as we grow in volume we want to deepen and increase the quality of our content.

This year’s Limitless Conference will be held on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd of August, and is the first Conference we have run with a duration of three days.

We have a number of incredible speakers from across New Zealand – leaders who inspire by the way they have connected their values and their strengths to their craft, to do great things in their work.

This year’s cohort of Year 10 students will experience a program that includes interactive activities, engaging breakout workshops, speaker sessions and more – all based around the topics of strengths, values, goal setting, social justice and wellbeing. They will be given a customized Limitless Reflection journal for use at the Conference, as well as for the application of the concepts we cover after they leave.

The Limitless Online Portal is the second added aspect of the Limitless program. The Portal has been created as a place where young people eager and curious to learn about their options and opportunities can go to find out what opportunities exist for them, in relation to their path to meaningful work. This Online Portal works in a partnership model, where local organizations across sectors can offer their opportunities to be featured for free, and young people who have taken part in Limitless Conference are connected with opportunities that are relevant to their unique strengths, values and passions – in the areas of events, volunteering, project scholarships and more.

We are so grateful to have received funding from EPIC in 2018, to improve and “level up” the Limitless Online Portal!

We are also launching a pilot Year 11 program this September, for our previous year’s alumni – to continue exploring those themes of strengths, values, goal setting, wellbeing and more – and how these apply to where they are at now.

We are incredibly excited for the future as we continue building, developing and growing Limitless!

Check out our website:

Three ways of addressing the IT ‘skills gap’ in New Zealand

Wednesday, July 18th, 2018

As we all know, recruitment in New Zealand is notoriously difficult, particularly in the technology industry. New Zealand needs to educate or import thousands more information technology workers each year if it is to close a growing skills gap in the industry, according to a government-backed report.

The Digital Skills Forum study found the ICT sector employed 120,350 people in 2016 when it created 14,000 jobs, but only 5,090 graduates entered the industry the previous year and only 5,050 visas were granted to immigrants with technology skills, it said.

To exacerbate this problem, we have historically had large numbers of talented New Zealander technology professionals moving overseas to find work (possibly because they can secure better remuneration overseas), and employers that grapple with bias, either conscious or unconscious, toward certain minority demographics. These biases can lead to excluded consideration when hiring or developing the talent pipeline based on age, sex, culture, or disabilities.

There is another way

Due to our geographical isolation, New Zealand’s business community has become used to being self-sufficient. We have smaller teams who are experts in their field and as a result are more nimble and agile. New Zealand businesses are generally not afraid to take risks and there is a strong sense of innovation in our DNA. Even mature New Zealand businesses have demonstrated their ability to pivot and make decisions much more quickly than its overseas counterparts.

As a result, New Zealand is seeing success overseas – Grow North’s “Fast Five” companies are generating more than $90 million in revenue in the North America market and has the capability to offer challenging and rewarding careers to New Zealanders. Consequently, we’re already seeing young Kiwis return to New Zealand after spending time overseas, bringing with them relevant experience and skills.

So how do technology businesses in New Zealand continue to attract talent so they can innovate and grow moving forward?

1. Bridging the skills gap

According to the World Economic Forum, many of the skills we need for the future are ever-changing – disrupted by the rapidly evolving technology market. Demand for digital skills, in particular, is on the rise from employers across New Zealand and we expect this trend to continue. However, digital skills are evolving and the pool of talent with existing experience in this area is small. So, hiring new talent based on their experience and skill-set is an outdated model that will only perpetuate the skills gap[1]. Instead businesses should look to:

2, Re-skill existing staff

Going forward, we’ll need a generation of workers who are hungry to learn and eager to keep pace with the times. Organisations should look for curious, flexible employees with the proven ability to keep learning and stay relevant in their field of expertise; people who actively pursue opportunities where their transferable skills might be applicable. Businesses will then need to invest in the appropriate learning and development to help these talented employees transfer into new roles.

3. Recruit from different demographics

It’s easy to say your organisation doesn’t discriminate against potential employees due to gender, race, age or disability and for almost all of us that’s true. We certainly never would intentionally discriminate against anyone. But what about the unintentional discrimination that may be going on without anyone even realising?

Unconscious bias happens when our brains make incredibly quick judgements and assessments of people and situations without us realising. Our biases are influenced by our background, cultural environment and personal experiences. We are more than likely not aware of these views, but their impact is still fully-felt.

Though it’s rooted in human nature, it’s important to understand what unconscious bias is, in order to overcome it and build strong, diverse teams. Appropriate will teach you and your employees about the different kinds of unconscious bias and how to recognise them in action as well as how to address unconscious bias in the workplace.

There is no doubt the technology sector in New Zealand is a great place to work. Having spent a number of years working with Skillsoft customers and teams in high-growth markets before returning to New Zealand, I believe there is no other region that offers the unique organisational culture and business environment New Zealand does. This country has much to offer both existing and potential employees.

However, technology businesses need to learn to look beyond their traditional recruitment avenues and start investing in reskilling existing employees as well as recruiting from previously neglecting minority groups to attract and retain talent. This will ensure a strong pool of talent to help local business innovate and grow in an increasingly competitive global market.

Article by Skillsoft New Zealand sales director Kath Greenhough.

From local to global: Verizon Connect celebrates its Christchurch roots

Wednesday, July 18th, 2018

From its roots as a local Christchurch business to a multinational enterprise, tech firm Verizon Connect says Christchurch will always be its home.

Verizon Connect, formerly called Telogis, has offices in 15 countries including the US, UK, and Australia – a story that all began back in 2000 with a dream to improve the way people, vehicles, and other things move through the world.

When Christchurch local Ralph Mason teamed up with American-based Newth Morris, Telogis was born. Back then, they developed a fleet tracking software to track vehicle locations.

In 2014 the company rebranded from Telogis to Verizon Connect and created a new portfolio of solutions and services.

Despite the renewed global focus, Verizon group vice president of mobile research and development Gary Jenson says Christchurch is still at the heart of research and development opportunities.

“We have the capability and go-to attitude to think laterally and build the most innovative solutions in ways that other countries and locations might not be able to,” he says.

Because much of the group’s original technology was developed in Christchurch, it has been instrumental in transforming the company into a ‘pioneer’ in the telematics industry, Jensen says.

What’s more, Verizon Connect still engages with up-and-coming Christchurch talent by regularly hiring university graduates for its Christchurch office. It also hosts interns, many of whom stay as permanent employees after graduation.

“The quality of software engineering students and the close relationships we have with Canterbury University and other groups has helped to make Christchurch a thriving place for our technology company,” Jensen says.

He notes that the Christchurch tech sector progressed in massive leaps, particularly over the last decade.

That local tech sector is the second largest in the country and contributes around $2.4 billion of GDP, as well as annual exports of $1.1 billion.

Diversity, creativity, tech talent and strong relationships between business and students all enable the region ensures the right skills for the city’s future workforce pipeline.

“Community groups like CanterburyTech have also helped increase the profile and strength of the Christchurch tech sector significantly, bringing to light some of the strong engineering work the city has always been good at, but no one was aware of,” Jensen says.

He adds that Christchurch’s closely connected tech community and supportive business environment also makes it an ideal environment for start-ups with big ideas.

His advice?

“Focus on the big picture beyond the local market, while still keeping roots in the Christchurch and Kiwi way of doing things.”

Be part of the change — Duncan Cotterill invite you to join us at our breakfast panel to discuss social enterprise as a vehicle for sustainability

Wednesday, July 18th, 2018

Thursday 2 August, 7:30am – 9:30am Duncan Cotterill, 148 Victoria Street, Christchurch

We are excited to be joined by:

Rebecca Mills Founder/Managing Director of The Lever Room
Samantha Jones Founder/CEO of Little Yellow Bird
Anton Matthews Co-founder of FUSH
Fraser McConnell Co-founder of Squawk Squad & Choice to Pay Jo Blair Founder of Brown Bread (facilitator)

RSVP to by 27 July

Please note places are strictly limited so don’t wait to RSVP