From the launch of a new web platform to connect companies in the region, to details about how Te Tai Tokerau Northland’s entrepreneurs can meet international investors, the launch of this year’s Techweek event is about to kick off and organisers are calling on Northland innovators to get in touch and join in.

The launch, which takes place from 5pm to 7pm on March 27 at the Mahi Tahi room at the Orchard Event and Business Hub in Whangarei, offers an open invitation to members of the community to run their own Techweek events this year.

“It’s about highlighting and supporting the innovation and technology coming out of Northland. Whether it’s teachers looking for information about how to run a school event, or a student-led project, to innovators with research and development projects in need of investment support, we are keen to hear from the public and business community,” said Jiveen MacGillivray, Growth Advisor and Innovation Specialist with Northland Inc, the regional economic development agency organising the event.

He said Northland Inc’s team wanted to hear from business owners in other sectors, for example the construction industry, because the region was already seeing signs of increased innovation.

“We want to know who you are and what you are innovating. Many of our recent businesses have been innovating in the construction space,” he said, adding that there are significant opportunities to support research and development through the innovation service provided by Northland Inc.

Another element of Techweek this year involves the regional rolling out a red carpet for national and international investors who are looking for the next great start-up to get behind.

“On May 20 the Northland Start-Up Innovation Showcase will help raise capital through investment for exciting start-ups in front of national and international venture capital and angel investors. We want those start-up operators to come and meet us at this launch and be part of that showcase.”

The Aerospace Challenge will also be launched at the event welcoming innovation focusing on the theme of sustainable agriculture. Climate change and a growing global population mean there is a need to increase agricultural production while minimising the environmental impact.

“It’s all about how technology can be used for new and innovative solutions to help build a strong, sustainable agricultural and food sector,” said Mr MacGillivray.

Last year, Northland had a runner up in the Challenge. This year’s theme of sustainable agriculture is looking for a Northland individual or business with ideas on how to apply innovation to our water ways, farm and food production.”

There were over 540 events in New Zealand during last year’s Techweek festival, with 35 events in Northland.

“This year, we hope to have even more local events organised by local people,” said Jiveen.

“Schools can get involved too and get online on Tech TV, the Techweek website and give their project a national audience.”

He said event formats could vary, for example hosting a public art installation or meetup at a local cafe. Participants could get content aired on Techweek social media channels and could write blogs to describe their innovation.

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