The depth and potential of Waikato’s IT talent has been recognised through the launch of CultivateIT, a cluster group to further Waikato’s burgeoning tech industry.
Establishment of the IT cluster is being hailed as a major step forward which will potentially allow the region’s tech companies to pitch for projects and funding together.
CultivateIT was launched in February at the first annual Waikato Technology Showcase held at Waikato Innovation Park.
Rachel Kelly from Spark Tank who was on the CultivateIT establishment board, said it was time for the Waikato ICT sector to promote itself nationally and internationally, as the region had a wealth of brilliant people and businesses doing innovative work.
“To some degree we are the black sheep of the New Zealand tech family and it’s about time we got together to let people know about the depth of talent here,” said Ms Kelly who is deputy chair of the NZTech Industry Association.
Ms Kelly says CultivateIT will act as a collective voice, showcasing regional technology innovation and enabling closer collaboration to attract national and overseas contracts.
Another establishment board member, Dave Hallett of Company X said the industry has lacked cohesion in Waikato.
“This is really going to bring a level of collaboration and visibility, effectively a brand for our IT sector in Waikato. And that’s really important when you are telling a story or working with central government,” he said.
Mr Hallett said CultivateIT would allow Waikato to pitch for big IT projects as well as various forms of R & D funding.
“When we pitch for a project or for funding, rather than just say we can work together in a complementary fashion, we can now show it.”
Hamilton East MP, David Bennett who supported the initiative since it was first considered a year ago, said the Waikato IT community made a significant contribution to the country, not only with the large number of innovative businesses and people working in the field, but the high number of ICT graduates produced in the Waikato region.
The Technological Showcase where the initiative was launched, was a sell out with 145 visitors and about 40 exhibitors gathering at Waikato Innovation Park, the hub for many tech-based companies in the region.
“The calibre of the attendees was very high, both from a business and information technology point of view,” said Waikato Innovation Park chief executive Stuart Gordon.
“It reinforced what the whole purpose of CultivateIT was about. Until now we haven’t understood the depth of IT calibre in Waikato and the sheer number of IT businesses here.”
Exhibitors at the inaugural Waikato Technical Showcase included Callaghan Innovation, 3D vision solutions company Chronoptics, Cybersecurity Researchers of Waikato (CROW), multidisciplinary design consultancy Designwell, software companies Adroit Creations and LayerX, and wireless engineers Virscient.
Business manager at Waikato Innovation Park, Craig Purcell, said the technology showcase was all about showing off the breadth of IT expertise and up-and-coming talent in the Waikato region.
“Our IT experts, graduates and technologies are sought after around the world, and this showcase is about bringing it all together for a day to really show off what we’re about,” said Mr Purcell.