By ELLEN READ
There is one icehouse which will not melt when things heat up.
It is the newly opened International Centre for Entrepreneurship (Icehouse) in Parnell.
Dubbed a business accelerator, rather than incubator, the Icehouse can accommodate up to 15 companies, giving them access to international networks, consulting advice and capital providers. They also have access to the University of Auckland's knowledge resources, including teaching staff, research, 19 libraries and extensive databases.
Icehouse chief executive Andrew Hamilton, a Government adviser on commercialising innovation, said research into small and medium enterprises had shown they were often unable to make the most of potentially high-value businesses.
The Icehouse's goal was to quickly build innovation into international companies.
A five-pronged approach will be taken:
* Acceleration. Helping promising new companies to expand.
* Education. The Icehouse will offer its owner-operator course and a creating wealth from technology course which starts at the University of Auckland in January.
* Research. The Icehouse will undertake and commission research that will enable it to create more winners by understanding more about how businesses succeed and why, how we can compete more effectively and what markets value.
* Networks. The capacity to link people with people, incubators with other incubators, financiers with entrepreneurs, researchers to research funders and the ideas creators to the ideas implementers.
* Raising the profile of entrepreneurs by giving them fresh and interesting challenges and celebrating their successes.
The Icehouse has two inaugural tenants - software developer Jimmi and timber coating specialist Climate. A third company moves in next month.
Applications to fill the other places will be sought this year.
Tenants pay for their space in the Icehouse and are allowed to stay for a maximum of 24 months.
"This is not an incubator. It is not a comfort zone. Businesses accepted into the programme have to compete to get in, meet tough expectations to stay in and are expected to grow at speed into international companies," Mr Hamilton said.
The Icehouse partners - Bank of New Zealand, Carter Holt Harvey, Chapman Tripp, Compaq, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, Telecom, Boston Consulting Group, University of Auckland Business School and Microsoft - have contributed $2 million. Industry New Zealand has contributed a further $125,000 for the first year of the programme.
The Knowledge Wave Conference discussed fostering innovation and creativity, developing and celebrating entrepreneurs, providing high quality, research-informed lifelong education and creating networks in which businesses thrive. "We also heard about one of the keys to future success in life - collaboration. The Icehouse is our response," said Mr Hamilton at the official launch of the premises this week.
"We're here to grow the next generation of high-growth, high-value New Zealand success stories."
By ELLEN READ