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Lightning Lab challenge powering up energy innovation

This article was published on 31 January 2017

Innovation Challenge launches nationwide call for innovative electricity and sustainable energy ideas, ventures and products.

A unique mix of organisations from across the energy industry are backing New Zealand's first-ever nationwide call for innovative ideas, ventures and products in electricity and sustainable energy.

Lightning Lab Electric is calling every coder, inventor, tinkerer, engineer, or ideas person to enter an Innovation Challenge from February 1 with ideas pushing boundaries in how consumers and businesses use, manage, distribute, transmit, and generate power.

Entries are open to ideas, prototypes and products with the potential to improve the use of electricity as we know it - hardware, smart gadgets, software, dynamic consumption models, new business models, distribution systems and more.

Run by startup and innovation agency Creative HQ with Callaghan Innovation, the programme is sponsored by a group of innovation-focussed NZ and multinational companies – Westpac NZ, Genesis Energy, GE New Zealand, Unison Networks, and Z Energy, with support from New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.

"With massive challenges facing the world in how we use and manage energy, we know New Zealand's engineers, scientists and entrepreneurs are already working on solutions from their workshops, their universities, their co-working spaces, and wherever else they may be.

“This is an opportunity to put up their solutions as part of a new generation in how we use and manage energy," says Creative HQ chief executive Stefan Korn.

Callaghan Innovation interim chief executive Hemi Rolleston says the Lightning Lab Electric Innovation Challenge will help energise the next generation of innovative tech companies.

“The global electricity sector is ripe for disruption, and New Zealand tech companies have the potential to lead the world with innovative 'smart grid' solutions. We look forward to seeing the exciting ventures that result from this programme.”

The Innovation Challenge is opens for entries from 1 February - March 2017. Selected finalists will present to an expert industry panel for the chance to win prizes and access to industry partners.

Innovation Challenge key dates

  • Entries Open: February 1 - March 27
  • Finalist Pitch Panel: April 5
  • Winners announced: April 7