Business incubator heads to Bay

By Patrick O'Sullivan

The fast track to business success is coming to Hawke's Bay.

The acclaimed Auckland business incubator The Icehouse Business Growth Centre is setting up a branch in Hawke's Bay.

Recognised by Forbes Magazine as one of the world's top 10 business incubators, The Icehouse's successful programmes, resources, funding and networks is now available to Bay businesses of all sizes.

In 2010 Forbes Magazine wrote that The Icehouse had "launched 75 technology companies and has raised $50 million for them through its angel-investor network, the largest in New Zealand".

It will be the first satellite office outside Auckland for the charitable trust, founded by the University of Auckland Business School in 2001 with former Hawke's Bay business leader David Irving.

The Project Lead from The Icehouse, Peter Wogan, will be visiting Hawke's Bay about twice a week, co-ordinating a range of programmes using a mix of local resources backed by the experience of The Icehouse to help businesses succeed. "We are in the first phase of the plan that will take us through to March 2013 with the immediate focus on helping at least 10 local businesses take the next step by seeing the benefits of the programmes, expertise and network of The Icehouse," he said.

Economic development agency Business Hawke's Bay (BHB) board members Hamish Whyte (Furnware) and Robert Darroch (FPG) have been involved in the drive to bring The Icehouse to Hawke's Bay. Both are successful exporters and Icehouse veterans.

Mr Whyte said it would bring invaluable world class support for businesses of all sizes. "The Icehouse has a national network that each company can benefit from and this collaborative group of people and companies is very energetic. It's infectious."

BHB business development manager Michaela Vodanovich said a positive business environment would attract more business to the region. "In the few months that The Icehouse have been speaking with local businesses, the enthusiasm for the commercial support that can be provided, has been positive."

Mr Wogan said Hawke's Bay was chosen "because they asked".

- Hawkes Bay Today

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