2020 TechFest attracts industry leaders

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Callaghan Innovation boss Vic Crone has been confirmed as a keynote speaker at the 2020 TechFest, recognising Waikato’s strength in technology and innovation.

Crone is CEO of the Government-owned innovation agency, which partners with businesses of all sizes to
provide a range of innovation and research and development services. During 2019, Waikato’s tech sector received a total of 32 grants for R&D co-funding from Callaghan Innovation. The projects had a combined value of $29.5 million, which signals the significant business spend on high-value tech and science-related activities in the region.

Vic Crone

Driven by CultivateIT in partnership with Te Waka, TechFest is Waikato’s Festival of Technology and Innovation, with this year’s event being held on March 3 at the Claudelands Event Centre.

Event director Jannat Maqbool says securing a speaker of Crone’s calibre is a reflection of how much the region’s tech sector is thriving.

“Ms Crone will be the keynote at one of the three main stage sessions running throughout the day, including panel discussions. Based on feedback from previous years, we will also be offering smaller, interactive seminars and workshops, which focus on specific technology topics.”

Maqbool says the Callaghan Innovation team will be facilitating one of these workshops. Others will be hosted by leading Waikato-based companies including RocketSpark, Enlighten Designs, and SkyPoint Technologies. NZ Story is also running a session and Payments NZ is hosting a financial technology innovation focused session.

“Securing a speaker of Crone’s calibre is a reflection of how much the region’s tech sector is thriving.”

Maqbool says there is growing interest in the festival from people with non-technical backgrounds and they are including a schools experience as part of the festival.

Te Waka chief executive Michael Bassett-Foss says TechFest is an opportunity for the Waikato tech sector to showcase its knowledge and expertise and demonstrate why it is experiencing such phenomenal growth.

“TechFest is also about connecting and providing an opportunity for people to network and build relationships.”

TechFest (Waikato Festival of Technology and Innovation) will be held at the Claudelands Event Centre on March 3, 2020. It is free to attend the exhibition, keynote sessions and panel discussion, and there are affordable workshops on offer. For more information visit www.techfest.nz

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