As global interest in Techweek continues to grow and raise the festival's profile, the need to promote and support ideas and ventures in Northland takes on an even greater significance. And this is where we can all help to play a part.
Techweek has expanded enormously in Northland during the past two years. If 2018 was all about heightening awareness of New Zealand's biggest festival of innovation in the region, this year was about building on that momentum, showcasing high-quality events and putting the emphasis fairly and squarely on local businesses and groups.
It would be no exaggeration to say this year's festival has surpassed all our expectations. So how, as Northlanders, do we go about taking it to that next level in 2020 and invite in more of the world to see what we have to offer?
To help that happen we are now calling on more volunteers to get involved, to use their skills, energy and creativity and, in doing so, to bring about a new vision for the festival. In short, we want to enable more Northlanders to be inspired – that, in a nutshell, is what Techweek Northland is all about.
We know that other successful festivals have involved volunteers on a regular basis, offering them a chance to increase their skills and their experiences. In Techweek Northland's case, it would present an exciting opportunity for volunteers to work alongside and connect with leaders and innovators across Te Tai Tokerau and New Zealand.
Recruitment for Techweek Northland is already under way. If you're interest in volunteering your time and can develop your skill such as – interviewing, creating video and sound content, creating great customer experiences, or creating social media content – you should register to find out more.
To do this, go to www.bit.ly/vtw20 .
Of course, Northland Inc will continue to play its part in Techweek – to support event organisers, including connecting investors and Northland-based businesses to amplify innovation that is "good for the world".
A prime example of that is our accelerator competition, The Pick, with its 12 once-weekly workshops for budding entrepreneurs.
Talking of The Pick, I had the good fortune to host one of Techweek's Highlight Events, the Startup Innovation Showcase at The Orchard, which shone a light on three of the region's most successful and progressive companies, Akudos – who were past winners of the competition, Kai Ora Honey and Engin.Systems.
These Northland companies are winning on the global stage and, afterwards, one business owner who was in the audience told me he was considering bringing his company to Northland, he had been so impressed with what he had heard during the forum.
"I want to bring my business here," he told me. I can tell you that was music to my ears.
My message to entrepreneurs and innovators is simple: don't delay, volunteer in Techweek20 to get connected and gain experience from a word-class festival right here in Northland.
• Jiveen MacGillivray is Growth Adviser and Innovation Specialist at Northland Inc, the regional economic development agency.