17 Aug 2011

Govt boost for science entrepeneurs

10:45 pm on 17 August 2011

Science and Innovation Minister Wayne Mapp has announced two initiatives to help entrepreneurs - a talent development programme and a high-tech hub in the United States.

The Government will invest $2.8 million over four years to support up to 20 budding entrepreneurs each year to help them grow a high-value, global innovative business.

At the opening of the Science and Innovation Ministry's new building on Wednesday, Dr Mapp also announced funding for an IT hub in San Francisco.

The ministry was established in February this year to promote the use of science to develop new high tech products.

Dr Mapp says boosting New Zealand's digital technologies industry is behind the initiatives.

He says the programme for young entrepreneurs will nurture those with entrepreneurial flair and the potential to innovate and create value for New Zealand's digital technologies sector.

"This will help them to get their ideas ready for the market and increase their chances of securing investment capital. They will be introduced to top-end mentors, here and overseas, and be linked into innovation and business networks."

Dr Mapp also announced the Government will invest $US300,000 to set up the Kiwi Landing Pad Ltd - a hub for New Zealand high-tech businesses in San Francisco.

The Landing Pad was Initiated by TradeMe founder Sam Morgan, and supported by leading entrepreneurs Sir Stephen Tindall, Rod Drury and John Holt.

"The Landing Pad is like a shop front where New Zealand businesses can physically be together and tap into each other's networks and connections. It will help our high-tech businesses get access to the US market," Dr Mapp says.