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Founder and Startup Support Programme

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A healthy, thriving innovation and startup environment is vital to our country’s future. Callaghan Innovation plays an important role as a catalyst for startups and entrepreneurs, by helping to fund startup support organisations to grow more high-quality startups and entrepreneurs.

We do this by building ‘entrepreneurial capability’ in aspiring entrepreneurs and accelerating the growth of quality high-impact startups.

This programme is designed to:

  • lift the productivity and performance of New Zealand startups

  • equip aspiring entrepreneurs with the mindset, skills and networks to succeed

  • create more and higher quality startups (including deep tech companies)

  • lift diversity in startups and entrepreneurship, especially Māori and female representation

  • increase the quality and scale of New Zealand’s startup support ecosystem.


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Our Provider Organisations: 

  • Icehouse Ventures is a venture capital firm backing brave kiwi founders building global companies. The Icehouse team invests from pre-seed to IPO and looks for founders with
    deep domain expertise who aspire to become global companies that can change an industry. 

  • Creative HQ helps innovators around the world transform their ideas into real-world solutions. The School of Innovation offers hands-on innovation training and professional development workshops to help people approach projects in new ways, increase productivity and learn problem-solving skills. The Creative HQ Accelerator programme is a 3-month virtual programme open to  Aotearoa based startup founders looking to row quickly and scale globally.

  • Sprout Agritech is New Zealand’s leading Agritech accelerator and investor and has been working with agrifood tech startups since 2015. The team offer the  Sprout Agritech Accelerator programme, a 12-week Accelerator aimed at AgTech and FoodTech entrepreneurs and businesses wishing to turn IP into a scalable business.

  • Kōkiri  is a Māori Business Acceleration programme based on kaupapa Māori values focused on accelerating early stage Māori-led start-ups that are technology-based and have bold ambitions.
    Developed for Māori, by  Māori, Kokiri is a 12-week kaupapa-based Startup accelerator supports early-stage Maori-led enterprises on a journey to sustainable business growth.

  • The Ministry of Awesome is a force for high-growth startups in Aotearoa. The team drives startup ambition, builds entrepreneurial capability and supports early-stage New Zealand founders and startups with global ambitions. The Founder Catalyst is a nine-month incubation programme designed to support, nurture and accelerate the growth of early-stage startups. 

  • The HTK Group  was established in 2015 to meet the growing demand for Māori-led professional services that understand the needs of Māori and indigenous organisations across the spectrum, from building startups and developing existing businesses to seeking investment opportunities. HTK offers a range of support services, capability-building programmes and innovation incubators focused on developing initiatives that create real impact. 

    The Whakatū Accelerator is a 12-week founder driven startup accelerator programme designed to unleash the ambitions of Māori and Pacifica entrepreneurs. The accelerator will focus on Māori and Pacifica knowledge intensive businesses. The programme team will be based in Tāmaki Makaurau but will support founders across Aotearoa. 

    Programming Māori & Pasifika Potential (PMP) is a digital technology accelerator for rangatahi Māori and Pacifica 16 - 19 years. In 2023, PMP will accelerate across Auckland, Christchurch, and Hawkes Bay, connecting 80 rangatahi into business innovation and digital technology. 

​Not what you are looking for?

  • If your startup is a registered New Zealand business
  • and you are seeking additional support from Callaghan Innovation have a look at our contact page.

You can also check out our other products, Innovation Skills and Grants.

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Friends of the programme

We have plenty of friends in the startup ecosystem who can also offer you some fantastic support in your local area, here are a few to get you started:


  • Northland
    The Orchard Business and Event Hub - a collaborative business and event space for entrepreneurs, startups and established business professionals in Northland.

  • Taranaki
    Startup Taranaki is a team of motivated volunteers passionate about growing a strong, innovative & inclusive startup scene in the region.

  • Tairāwhiti
    Startup Weekend Tairāwhiti is an annual weekend-long event where entrepreneurs, startup enthusiasts, developers, designers, marketers, product managers, passionate people and creative thinkers come together to share ideas, form teams, build products, and launch startups!

  • Dunedin
    Startup Dunedin - Turn your idea into reality.

  • Queenstown
    Startup Queenstown Lakes - Let’s turn your big idea into a reality

  • Invercargill
    COIN South is an innovation network for Southland start-ups looking to scale beyond the region.

  • Tauranga
    Venture Centre provides the opportunity for you to learn and activate key entrepreneurial skills including how to explore, test, measure, iterate and validate ideas.

  • Manawatu
    The Factory - Turn your idea into a business with us, or scale your start-up to be a business of tomorrow.

  • Hamilton
    Soda - We connect business of all sizes, industries and stages to the right advice, support, resources and funding, to accelerate business growth and drive innovation.

  • Auckland
    Outset Ventures - We are an early-stage investment fund and a physical space for technology incubation.

  • And more!

Contact us if you'd like your organisation added to this list.


Updated: 30 September 2022