Helping local businesses to go further and faster is the aim of a new technology-focused sector development group, Hi-Tech Hawke's Bay.
Business Hawke's Bay, with the support of leading local technology entrepreneurs, EIT and some of the region's largest companies, established Hi-Tech Hawke's Bay to connect technology specialists across all sectors.
The aim is to attract, retain and develop talent to meet the needs of business, build hi-tech innovation and knowledge to help businesses start up, scale up or tech up for future growth and foster connection and collaboration, sharing knowledge across sectors and with employers and educators in Hawke's Bay, nationally and internationally.
Business Hawke's Bay chief executive Carolyn Neville said it is the right time to establish Hi-Tech Hawke's Bay, with the region's technology sector continually growing.
"Hawke's Bay has a vibrant and growing technology sector with innovation woven into our businesses. Our vision is to support a dynamic world class hi-tech ecosystem by connecting businesses with networking events, expertise, education, innovation and inspiration. By working together, we can leverage experience and connections and lift Hawke's Bay's profile as a significant technology hub.
"We have an exciting mix of companies that have joined our group, whose technologies include software, IoT, data analytics, AI, machine learning, robotics, AR/VR and 3D printing alongside technology specialists innovating in other major industries and training providers such as EIT.
"The Hi-Tech group brings technology specialists together, builds connections, and makes it easier to collaborate, share knowledge, innovate and grow," Neville said.
"It will also assist in attracting technology talent to the region and keeping talent here over the long term, by showing the range of career progression opportunities. Good progress has been made in providing internship opportunities for tech students, but there is still more that we can do to develop and retain our own talent.
"Hawke's Bay is growing. Technology and innovation are key enablers of that growth, with talented people driving it. Hi-Tech Hawke's Bay supports that talent."
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Sharon Chapman, founder of ABC Software, a company that develops technology solutions for horticulture, says that the Hi-Tech group is about building community for the greater good.
"There's so much happening in Hawke's Bay in IT and technology. We've all got our heads down working flat out in our own businesses, so don't always have the time to get out and connect.
"Hi-Tech Hawke's Bay is a great way of getting us all linked up, looking at the bigger picture and seeing what's going on in other businesses and sectors. It gives the opportunity to grow our awareness of the skills and knowledge that are here in Hawke's Bay and it creates the potential to tap into them to support business growth and to help others through sharing and collaboration.
"It's a timely initiative and one that I expect will deliver over the short and long term," Chapman said.
Establishing Hi-Tech Hawke's Bay and delivering on its objectives is a key action under Matariki, Hawke's Bay's Regional Development Strategy, specifically Pou Four, Economic Growth – Supporting businesses and sectors to grow; and to be innovative, productive, sustainable and inclusive.