Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Business startup council appointed

The Government has appointed a Startup Advisors’ Council to help identify and address the opportunities and challenges facing high growth start-up businesses, Research, Science, and Innovation Minister, Megan Woods, and Economic and Regional Development Minister, Stuart Nash have announced.

“Startups are major contributors to the knowledge and innovation that we know are fundamental to New Zealand’s economic recovery as well as resilience, ongoing economic growth, the creation of highly skilled jobs, and to people in Aotearoa enjoying a high quality of life,” says Minister Woods. 

“Startups are often high tech, rapidly growing businesses which compete in the global market. They can generate significant levels of research and development and drive economic growth, sometimes developing entirely new industries.  

“The Council, whose members have extensive experience in the startup and angel investor industry, will enable more co-ordinated and targeted action from government, helping lift productivity.”

She said New Zealand had a strong startup ecosystem which had demonstrated impressive resilience over the last two years.

“Startups and smart capital are important engines for productivity growth, and our Government is committed to deepening capital markets through initiatives such as New Zealand Growth Capital Partners,” said Minister Nash.

“The Startup Council will help us to better understand the challenges facing startups and the actions we need to take to create an even better environment for innovative startups to thrive. I have seen the value of the approach through my work with the Small Business Council, which produced a strategy in 2019. The government backed these recommendations through immediate changes, and the strategy continues to influence Government policy today.”

He said a recently announced Business Growth Fund will enable New Zealand’s small and medium sized enterprises to access the capital they need to grow and be successful.

“I anticipate the Startup Council will drive similar positive action that will continue to be felt in the future,” the Minister said.

Seven members will sit on the Council for a term of 12 months. The Council will be chaired by Phil McCaw, founding partner at venture capital fund, Movac and former chair of the Angel Association New Zealand.  

The members of the Council include:  

  • Suse Reynolds, Chair of the Angel Association New Zealand 
  • Marian Johnson, Chief Executive of Ministry of Awesome 
  • Grant Straker (Ngāti Raukawa), co-founder of the A.I. language translation platform Straker Translations
  • Mike Carden, founder of a number of start-ups including Sonar6 and Joyous 
  • Imche Fourie, co-founder and Chief Executive of Auckland-based Outset Ventures 
  • Carl Jones, Managing Partner of WNT Ventures. 

More information on the Startup Advisors Council, including the terms of reference, can be found on the MBIE website.  

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