Creative HQ is excited to announce the opening of 1st Assembly at 125 High Street, Lower Hutt, a space for hardware-focussed Hutt startups to work and collaborate. The residency also comes with the support needed to build the startups’ networks, shared knowledge, resilience and high growth potential.

Powered by the Hutt City Council and delivered by Creative HQ, 1st Assembly has been established to support and strengthen the region’s thriving hardware industry and build upon the momentum created by NZ’s first ever product focussed business accelerator, Lightning Lab Manufacturing, operating out of the same address in late 2015.

The space offers startups an affordable, flexible work environment with the teaching, support and community interaction needed to strengthen their networks, build resilience and tap into growth potential. Residents have access to essential office facilities like fast internet, printing and meeting rooms, plus workbenches (with a growing toolkit, 3D printers and soldering facilities) for experimentation when developing and testing prototypes. More than a communal office, 1st Assembly is designed to actively coach ventures through open access to Creative HQ’s longstanding growth programmes, including ‘Startup Garage’ sessions for Hutt based businesses and entrepreneurs.

The next Startup Garage will be held in the space on Thursday 31 March, with 1st Assembly resident and founder of UBCO telling the story behind the ground-breaking electric utility bikes they are now introducing to the global market.

UBCO Founder Daryl Neal sees huge value in utilising 1st Assembly as a supportive hardware hub. “Turning great hardware ideas into a successful product is no walk in the park – prototyping and development takes serious time and commitment, so you need flexible space and resources to build, test and experiment, and access to a wide and supportive network. “Just like with any tech startup, getting solid business support is vital – strong governance, strategy and marketing will be critical for your growth. If you crack these problems there are global opportunities for NZ hardware, so it’s great to be involved and see this initiative unfolding”, Nael says.

Creative HQ CEO Stefan Korn is stoked that the space will pick up where Lightning Lab Manufacturing left off – continuing to support the growth and scaling of strong product ideas for the region. “Lightning Lab Manufacturing was hugely successful in applying concentrated support to launch seven exciting hardware startups. We are excited to keep building that momentum with Hutt City Council through 1st Assembly, and look forward to working with the Hutt startup/entrepreneur community to create a space that taps into NZ’s hardware development potential.”

Lower Hutt Mayor Ray Wallace is equally enthused about this addition to the city and region. “The Hutt has real potential in the technology sector. We come from a strong manufacturing heritage and have an amazing network of product and manufacturing enterprise as well as great leaders and innovators in the science and technology sector.

“A collaborative, connected work environment like 1st Assembly is exactly what is needed to provide the support to see these businesses go from strength to strength and to foster new ideas and businesses to continue to grow Technology Valley.”

GET IN TOUCH – if you are a hardware startup searching for a collaborative community to work within, working on your latest product prototype, or after a place to host your next community event visit www.1-a.co.nz to get in touch with 1st Assembly Manager Tom Rabone, tom@1-A.co.nz.

You can find out more about the UBCO Startup Garage at 1st Assembly on March 31st here.

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