Callaghan Innovation has adopted an Israeli database model for its newly-launched Scale-Up NZ information aggregation and collaboration system.
Callaghan, a government agency, will pay a $50,000 annual licence fee to Israeli non-profit NGO Start-Up Nation Central for its online platform, Callaghan general manager market and sectors Erica Lloyd says.
And it will employ four full-time staff bringing together curated public and company-sanctioned information on businesses, investors, hubs and multinationals active in New Zealand.
The system will be free to use.
The aim is to "shine a light on our thriving innovation ecosystem, delivering accurate insights on ambitious, innovative New Zealand companies, removing information gaps that too often prevent our businesses from achieving their potential", Callaghan CEO Vic Crone says.
Of particular interest is linking companies and funding organisations.
Part Trade Me, part Tinder?
Not exactly Tinder, Lloyd says. "It's curated by our team so the platform doesn't get spammed."
She says Callaghan's research suggests New Zealand's innovation ecosystem is "emergent, isolated and fractured".
"Globally it's recognised that highly-networked, collaborative ecosystems will outperform by two times in terms of FTE growth and revenue.
"They produce more intellectual property, commercialise more science and attract more capital."
Speaking at the launch, Start-Up Nation Central CEO Eugene Kandel said his database listed more than 7,000 companies and 70,000 people visit the platform every month, including over 50,000 from outside Israel.
"It enables start-ups to find partners, investors and workforce."
Kandel said his company had since 2018 been keen to license the model overseas and so far had signed up Thailand, Michigan and now New Zealand. It was looking to double this by the end of the year.
Callaghan has 500 companies, investors and hubs listed on Scale-Up NZ, and it wants a four-fold increase by year-end - to 2,000.
Callaghan was hit hard by the announcement last year from Science, Research and Innovation Minister Megan Woods that she was axing the Callaghan-administered $657.2 million Growth Grant programme as part of the government's R&D tax break initiative.
The Growth Grant scheme will end on 31 March 2021 with some eligible Growth Grant recipients taking up a transition extension.
Callaghan Innovation welcomes the new incentive and will be working very closely with IRD to implement it.