NZTE and TechNZ (the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology’s business investment programme) have appointed the first organisations to our new joint network of 14 Regional Business Partners and are close to finalising the entire network of ‘NZTE-TechNZ Regional Business Partners’ who will become a natural first point of contact for businesses around New Zealand seeking government assistance.
The development expands on TechNZ’s previous network of nine Regional Partners who worked with emerging technology businesses to support them to undertake research and development projects. The new Regional Business Partners, based on regional council boundaries, will be funded by NZTE and TechNZ to employ staff with business development skills and research and development (R&D) expertise.
They will work with local businesses and provide a range of advice and access to funding and support focused on assisting them to grow their business. Support available includes:
- An assessment of business needs, which will help Regional Business Partners point businesses to appropriate information, advice, and support.
- NZTE Capability Development Vouchers, which the managers of eligible small businesses will be able to use as partial payment for the cost of management capability building services.
- R&D funding via the Foundation’s TechNZ programme of funds and services.
Hamish Campbell, the Foundation’s Manager of Investment Services, said TechNZ had invested $7.1 million in hundreds of companies nationwide during the past two years and the success of its network had contributed to the idea to form a joint network of Regional Business Partners with NZTE.
“The Regional Business Partner model is one that small and medium-sized businesses have responded to. Our partners have helped companies around New Zealand undertake innovative projects to develop new products, employ undergraduate and masters students, and engage experts to assess their R&D strategy and provide advice.
“The new network builds on what we’ve learned, and the expertise we’ve gained, from the TechNZ network of Regional Business Partners,” Mr Campbell said.
NZTE Acting Director of Performance Improvement Euan Purdie said setting up the new network had been a complex process but he was impressed that business organisations had collectively applied to become the Regional Business Partner in many regions.
“They’ve recognised the opportunity this represents in terms of offering local businesses a single point of contact for business development support. It provides an excellent opportunity for the key entities in each region to work together to determine the best way forward in terms of their economic strategies and help them identify businesses in their region that will deliver on those.
“I’m sure our Regional Business Partners will have the local influence to encourage businesses to develop their management capability, to use information services, and to undertake research and development – all of which is critical to both their development and to the growth of our economy,” Mr Purdie said.
NZTE-TechNZ Regional Business Partners are able to speak the language of business. They are responsible for the delivery of specialist services, support and funding to enhance business capability and grow business investment in research and development, on behalf of New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) and the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology.