Maxwell breaks his link with Innovation Park

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Peter Maxwell.
Peter Maxwell.

Peter Maxwell, one of the Bay of Plenty and Waikato's key influencers in business growth, innovation and development, will retire this month after nine years as business growth manager at Waikato Innovation Park.

His appointment to the role was seen as a coup - he was one of Britain's leading business incubator and science park creators. He previously worked for the University of Bristol in the UK where he created the SETsquared Centre, recently recognised as the world's top-performing university-owned business incubator.

During his tenure at Waikato, Mr Maxwell had been involved in more than 500 Callaghan Innovation R&D applications resulting in about $20 million per annum in additional R&D funding coming into the Waikato region, with a similar level of applications and funding coming into the Bay of Plenty.

"The business partnership scheme that we have today is very much a one-stop-shop for local businesses, where our team works with individual companies and identifies their needs, whether it be around management training and ability, mentoring or R&D funding," he said.

"We've always taken an honest broker approach and that's what I enjoy and will miss the most - going into businesses and helping them, making connections, and linking them up with the right people."

Amanda Gilbertson, who worked closely with Mr Maxwell when she was Callaghan Innovation regional partner in the Bay of Plenty, noted that Mr Maxwell had been active across the Bay as well as Waikato.

Ms Gilbertson is now business development manager with Tauranga technology business incubator WNTVentures.

"If I hadn't done that role with Peter at Callaghan I certainly wouldn't be doing what I do at WNTVentures," she said.

"It was a really good grounding in science and business, and in how innovation adds value to people and their companies."

Mr Maxwell has most recently taken the lead in setting up a New Zealand Innovation Alliance, which will link innovation centres in New Zealand together to share best practice.

Waikato Innovation Park chief executive Stuart Gordon said Mr Maxwell had not only been an asset to the Waikato and Bay of Plenty regions, he had also been a real asset to New Zealand.

"Peter has brought a global link to Innovation Park beyond what others have," he said.

Mr Maxwell said he expected to stay involved in the Park post-retirement in some shape or form and was open to future opportunities.

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