Supporting business  |  10 Aug 2020

A city-wide approach to growing more high-value businesses and jobs for Ōtautahi Christchurch has been launched.

The ambitious programme,  a key action in the city’s post-COVID Economic Recovery Plan, aims to boost support for business development - from early stage idea through to high growth and international potential.

The programme is underpinned by agreements ChristchurchNZ has signed with  the University of Canterbury (UC) Business School, the Ara Institute of Canterbury,  and the Ministry of Awesome through the Te Ōhaka - Centre for Growth & Innovation.

The agreements specifically aim to:

  • Identify, support, and accelerate the growth of Christchurch's most ambitious start-ups and scale-ups, particularly those working under the sectors identified in ChristchurchNZ’s Supernodes strategy.
  • Ensure those companies are given appropriate support within the broader ecosystem following incubation and capability building with Te Ōhaka and/or UC Business School’s ThincLab.
  • Attract talent, entrepreneurship, and businesses to Christchurch, while supporting the rich talent pipeline from the region’s tertiary institutions.

Boyd Warren, ChristchurchNZ Commercial General Manager, says the collaborative approach is an important part of Christchurch’s Economic Recovery Plan.

“Our recovery plan has an immediate aim to save and grow jobs and in the medium/long term reposition Christchurch as a smart sustainable city to ensure intergenerational wellbeing.

“This combined approach will create pathways for smart ideas to quickly get the support needed to develop, grow and ultimately create more world-class businesses here in Ōtautahi Christchurch.”

Acting Christchurch Mayor Andrew Turner says a joined-up approach to supporting new and growing businesses is an important area of focus for the city’s Economic Recovery Plan.

“There are still major challenges ahead both economically and socially, and I welcome this agreement as a step in the direction of addressing these. 

“Carving out a clear path for growth, providing expert advice, supporting risk takers and connecting them with our business community offers a strong platform for growth and in turn for sustainable economic recovery.” 

The partnership provides targeted support for high growth businesses, and those from Māori and Pacific communities, and includes incubation programmes, innovation challenges, business mentoring and access to investor and commercial networks.

Businesses affiliated with UC, or those wanting to take advantage of the talent and expertise at UC in the next phase of their journey - or have graduated from Te Ōhaka - can get further support at ThincLab Canterbury, which supports high-growth start-ups and is an integral part of the UC Business School.

The Ministry of Awesome will manage an early-stage Incubation Programme along with a range of additional services in Te Ōhaka - Centre for Growth & Innovation, which is based on the Ara campus.