Over 120 people joined Massey University’s ecentre to celebrate ten years of working with entrepreneurs to create what CEO Steve Corbett called “successful technology companies that will drive New Zealand business forward.”
Success and innovation was the theme of the night with Steve Corbett outlining several of the companies which started at the ecentre in 2001 and are now exporting around the world and operating as multimillion dollar entities.
In February 2001, ecentre was established by visionary academics Dr Chris Kirk, Professor Ian Watson, Dr Brian Chrystall, along with former North Shore City Mayor George Wood, Allan Morton, and Claire Campbell. A loan from the Tindall Foundation was instrumental in making the vision of an innovation centre a reality.
Ten years on, ecentre has many success stories including high growth companies Perceptive, Zeald.com, and Marops, who have achieved top 50 placings in the Deloitte Fast 50 Awards. ecentre alumni Cleanflow Systems have now sold into 20 US States and 35 countries worldwide. Marops is a Finalist for 2011 Minister of Defence Award of Excellence to Industry.
Software produced by ecentre companies is now being used and sold all over the world in more than 36 countries, and over the last three years ecentre companies have contributed more than $30 million in export revenue for New Zealand.
ecentre has also formed excellent strategic partnerships with companies like India’s CMC which is a subsidiary of India’s TATA Consulting Services, one of the largest consulting companies in the world. This joint venture, supported by New Zealand Trade & Enterprise (NZTE), identifies New Zealand technology companies that can successfully enter the Indian and Middle Eastern markets.
The ecentre has a long standing relationship with NZTE which has led to many companies achieving global success. In representing NZTE, Richard White spoke of the value of the relationship with the ecentre and how the broadband rollout over New Zealand and the Pacific Fibre project will drive significant growth of technology-based companies such as those already developed by ecentre.
Over 200 companies have benefited by having access to Massey University experts and the ecentre is now managing commercialization from Massey’s Albany campus. ecentre sponsors such as Sir David Levene & Sir Stephen Tindall, work closely with the centre as do a large number of mentors from the business world.
Sir Stephen Tindall said that although agricultural products are an integral part of New Zealand’s economy, going forward we need to export our expertise through technology based innovation. Sir Stephen acknowledged the great work of the ecentre and is keen to continue backing their activities. He announced that his investment company K1W1 will work with the ecentre and challenged other investors to come on board.
Going forward, ecentre will build on its expertise in identifying and validating markets for technology businesses and is planning to expand the ecentreSprint programme, a 12 week programme that assists entrepreneurs to determine whether their business idea can work and demonstrates how to create a successful business.