Callaghan names six firms to run founder incubator services

Callaghan Innovation has signed up six firms to run founder incubator services in an effort to encourage more start-ups across regional New Zealand.

Among firms already getting Callaghan backing from the incubator pilot programme, The Icehouse, Soda Inc, Creative HQ, Building Clever Companies and ecentre have been awarded one- or two-year contracts to provide services centred around a start-up founder. Joining them is ZeroPoint Ventures, which pitches itself as a way entrepreneurs can find support rather than as an incubator, accelerator, venture fund or small business loan initiative.

The contracts will see Hamilton-based Soda partner up to deliver services in Bay of Plenty, Gisborne and Hawke's Bay, North Shore-based ecentre will cover Northland, and Wellington's Creative HQ will offer services in parts of the South Island, Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith said in a statement.

"These successful applicants will significantly increase the extent of regional coverage," Goldsmith said. "Our main cities are well-served by multiple incubators and accelerators, but it has been much more difficult for regional start-ups to gain access to the same services."

The government has been coming under heightened pressure to support the reinvigoration of regional economies heading into the September general election, with much of the nation's growth in recent years centred around the major centres.

Goldsmith also announced new business accelerator contracts for Callaghan with Flux Accelerator, Mahuki Accelerator, and Creative HQ's Lightning Lab.

The founder incubator contracts will sit alongside Callaghan's incubator pilot programme, which got a two-year funding extension after a review found it was taking longer for early investments to generate the returns needed for three privately-owned incubators to stand on their own feet.

(BusinessDesk receives assistance from Callaghan Innovation to cover the commercialisation of innovation.)


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