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Callaghan Innovation boosts start-up support through Accelerator Programme

This article was published on 4 December 2014

The successful Lightning Lab business accelerator programmes are being added to Callaghan Innovation’s toolkit for high tech start-up support, says Callaghan Innovation CEO Mary Quin.

The successful Lightning Lab business accelerator programmes are being added to Callaghan Innovation’s toolkit for high tech start-up support, says Callaghan Innovation CEO Mary Quin.

Responsibility for the pilot Accelerator Programme, created in 2011 to support the rapid formation of early stage ICT and digital technology start-ups, moves this week from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) to Callaghan Innovation, the government’s business innovation agency.

“The Accelerator Programme has a strong fit with Callaghan Innovation’s role as the single front door for business R&D, innovation and commercialisation support and services, as well as its management and funding of the business incubator network,” Dr Quin says.

“It also builds on our existing links with promising new ICT start-ups, entrepreneurs, mentors and early stage investors.”

Accelerator Programmes typically run for between three and six months and are focused on building firms’ capability to be investment ready. They provide an intense acceleration from initial idea to market readiness and aim to develop a new generation of innovative technologies and companies that will drive growth in New Zealand’s digital technologies industry.

Accelerator Programmes complement Callaghan Innovation’s expanded network of eight business incubators, which includes three new technology incubators designed to get more deep IP-based start-ups off the ground. While incubators provide up to two years of co-funding and access to repayable grants for start-ups, accelerators provide start-ups with access to mentors, business planning, and investors.

A nationwide rollout of the Accelerator Programme pilot so far includes three entities that have been selected to run programmes under the Lightning Lab brand:

  • The Icehouse (Auckland)
  • Creative HQ (Wellington)
  • Canterbury Development Corporation (Christchurch)

Co-funding for Accelerators is at a rate of 1:2 Government to private sector funding, i.e. $250,000 from government is matched with $500,000 from private sector funding.