The Government’s announcement of continued early stage business funding reflects the success of business accelerator programmes, says Wellington startup hub Creative HQ.

During a live interview at the Lightning Lab XX accelerator, Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce announced yesterday the Government would invest $15 million over four years to support the development of early stage businesses and science commercialisation through structured programmes.

Creative HQ Chief Executive Stefan Korn said accelerators have become the most effective intervention for the stimulation of early stage business activity. Creative HQ, a subsidiary of the Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency, created the Lightning Lab business accelerator programme three years ago. It has expanded to become a national programme, run in partnership with The Icehouse and Canterbury Development Corporation.

“To date, the seven Lightning Lab programmes have resulted in $8,341,780 of private investment in ventures. In addition, 88% of teams who received funding through Lightning Lab are still operating and the programme has helped create international startup success stories such as Wipster, MishGuru, Publons and CloudCannon”.

The funding announced yesterday should be made available to programmes such as Lightning Lab and other accelerators, to help with the extension and diversification of acceleration programmes in New Zealand’s key sectors such as AgTech, High Value Manufacturing and Film, Screen & Digital.

“This announcement will provide certainty to New Zealand entrepreneurs and angel investors,” said Mr Korn.

funding stefan korn CEO creative hq

“New Zealand has the opportunity to become a global leader in specific acceleration verticals such as GovTech, CleanTech and High Value Manufacturing. In addition to mainstream startup acceleration, we would like to see increased government support for formats such as the R9 GovTech accelerator, an accelerator exchange programme with China or our Exponential Organisation accelerator, which encourages innovation in larger businesses.”

He said there was further potential for collaboration between researchers and scientists and entrepreneurial talent through structured programmes such as business accelerators.

“Entrepreneurs hold the key for significantly increasing commercial outcomes from Crown funded research programmes and an improved utilisation of IP/patents.”


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