1493783828015 - Local tech successes need shouting about

Local tech successes need shouting about

Opinion: Multi-nationals like Coca Cola, Nike, McDonalds, and Disney depend on technology developed here in Christchurch.

Our people and our businesses are world class, but in good kiwi fashion we’re not that comfortable about blowing our own trumpets.

 A lot of our tech businesses are not in competition with each other; their competitors are around the globe.

That’s where our businesses are succeeding. We should be shouting out a lot more about our international successes, because we’ve got plenty to be proud of.

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Next week many of our local businesses will be showcasing their enterprise and achievements in Techweek ’17, and there are lots of opportunities for anyone who’s interested to get involved and find out more about what’s happening here in Christchurch.

There’s everything from robots and virtual reality to local kids helping NASA prepare for life on Mars, and local research helping protect species in Antarctica – what’s not to like!

Christchurch’s tech sector employs almost 15,000 people and contributes $2.4 billion worth of our region’s GDP.

Every year our local tech businesses contribute over $1 billion to New Zealand’s export earnings. They are big, impressive figures.

There are very few businesses these days that don’t depend on technology.

Whether you’re in the business of farming, manufacturing, entertaining or educating, the technology you use is going to affect the success you achieve.

Local businesses provide software, services, electronics, high-value manufacturing, health-tech and agri-tech to the world, from global multi-national companies to small start ups.

They are supported by high quality education and training institutes that work closely with tech businesses.

What helps Christchurch’s tech sector succeed are the connections and networks that have developed to enable people to easily share their knowledge and experience.

Our compact size, collaborative spirit and range of co-working spaces bring people together and create the opportunity for exciting new things to happen.

It’s something we are known for, and helps attract talent and investment the sector needs to continue to thrive.

Our collaborative environment means that anyone who has a bright idea to help solve a problem or enhance someone’s life can find the support they need to develop their idea, connect with people with expertise to share, develop a business plan and go to market.

There is a lot of support available, from talented and experienced people.

Christchurch’s innovation precinct grew from the city’s 2012 blueprint.

It’s an inspirational place to visit, bringing together large corporates with established, fast-growing tech businesses and start ups based in co-working and incubator spaces like Greenhouse, BizDoJo and the well-named Ministry of Awesome.

In the EPIC building alone, around 300 people actively collaborate to support 20 information communication and high tech-focussed businesses.

Public events take place every week and visitors from around the world are regularly hosted, drawn to Christchurch because of the reputation we have for world class work and our kiwi ‘can do’ approach.

Tech Week is an opportunity to hear some very special businesses and people talk about themselves, which they don’t often do.

There are just so many inspirational success stories out there, from the firms designing next century virtual reality to the businesses helping explain some of the world’s largest infrastructure projects via technology messaging.

I’d urge everyone to check out the local events on offer next week (www.techweek.co.nz).

Be prepared to be excited, inspired and very impressed by what the local tech sector is up to.

Tom Hooper is the chief executive of the Canterbury Development Corporation.