Fund Arohia
Media release

First Ārohia Innovation Trailblazer Grant recipients

This article was published on Dec 13, 2023, 1:59 PM

Reading time: 4 minutes

Callaghan Innovation has allocated $21.4 million in co-funding to businesses with big ideas that are forging new pathways for themselves and other Kiwi innovators.

What's in this article

    The  Ārohia Trailblazer Innovation Grant is part of a new fund designed to support businesses that are benefiting the Aotearoa New Zealand innovation ecosystem.

    If you think about any innovative and ground-breaking business, whatever their products or services, there’s often a handful of others following closely in tow.

    For the first time ever we’re celebrating and supporting those businesses and innovators that are climbing the ladder, then offering a hand to those that are following.

    Brett Calton, Callaghan Innovation Chief Product Officer.  

    The eight ambitious recipients span diverse industries and sectors, from the manufacturing of new space-bound vehicles and in-orbit technologies, to innovative, high-tech healthcare solutions and carbon reducing clean-tech.

    Ārohia Trailblazer Innovation Grant recipients:

    Alimetry logo Avertana logo CarbonScape logo Dawn Aerospace logo


    A healthtech venture, pioneering wearable medical solutions for gastrointestinal care.


    A cleantech organisation, whose new technology refines steelmaking waster into useful raw materials.


    An established cleantech firm, now focussed on creating sustainable biographite for batteries. 

    Dawn Aerospace

    An aerospace manufacturer, developing new space-bound vehicles and in-orbit technologies.

    Kitea Health logo Leaft Foods logo Neocrete logo Wellumio logo

    Kitea Health

    A medical technology company building the next generation of micro-implantable devices.

    Leaft Foods

    Food technologists, building a business around the extraction of sustainable leaf-derived protein Rubisco.


    A construction start-up focused on replacing cement with a new, nano-engineered, low-carbon alternative.


    A healthtech startup, developing a portable MRI device for use by ambulance crews.

    Read more about the recipients - Introducing: the Ārohia Trailblazers. 

    The contestable grant opened on 30 June 2023 and received 73 applicants from across Aotearoa New Zealand, with 10 finalists selected to pitch to the  Ārohia panel.  

    The recipients, recommended by the expert panel, between them will receive up to $21.4M in co-funding from Callaghan Innovation to invest into bringing their innovative products and services to market.

    “Six of the eight recipients are seed and early-stage businesses. Half of them have fewer than ten employees. I’m exceptionally proud that we can support these wonderful, plucky, inspiring innovators that are set to have a significant, positive impact and influence on many other innovators across Aotearoa New Zealand.”

    In their applications the recipients highlighted a range of benefits they anticipate accruing to the innovation ecosystem as they bring their innovations to market. 

    Many of the recipients, including first-time Callaghan Innovation grant recipients Wellumio and Kitea Health, are creating brand new, novel products that have the potential to create entirely new markets or market categories here and abroad. 

    “It’s anticipated that this will create future demand for new and existing businesses to create innovative new products and services, and also share in the prosperity. 

    “Knowledge sharing and networking were also highlighted as bringing substantial benefits to the innovation ecosystem. Many of the recipients are already exchanging knowledge with their sectors, and have bold plans to create new initiatives and build new facilities,” says Brett Calton.  


    About the Ārohia Innovation Trailblazer Grant

    The contestable  grant works on a co-funded basis, with Callaghan Innovation putting forward 30% of the funds with the other 70% coming from private  sources of funding chosen by recipients. It was established to support innovators who have a new and exciting product or service ready to bring to market that is set to have  a positive impact on the wider Aotearoa New Zealand innovation ecosystem.  

    Find out more about the Ārohia Innovation Trailblazer Grant.

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