We Kiwis are celebrated for our innovative thinking and our ideas – nowhere more so perhaps than in Northland – and the upcoming Techweek 2021 provides a golden opportunity for us to indulge those passions.
Restricted to a digital presence due to national lockdown in 2020, the festival is back this year with a hiss and a roar, having broadened its scope to take in an abundance of exciting new themes and activities.
Event submissions for Techweek 2021: Connecting For A Better Future – which runs from May 24-30 – are now open to the public, and cater for every business or individual, regardless of whatever sector, size or stage your business or project may be at.
Formats include face-to-face, digital and hybrid events, while everything from "small meet-ups, hackathons, and workshops, as well as networking events and major conferences", will be accommodated, according to Techweek.
Northland Inc, the regional economic development agency, is delighted to participate this year, and will host both digital and in-person events, including proposed locations in the Far North, Kaikohe, the Bay of Islands, Dargaville, Whangārei and Mangawhai, where we are keen to connect with talent and celebrate tech, and how it continues to advance our businesses.
As the discovery of fresh talent is one of the touchstones of Techweek, this offers a real chance for Tai Tokerau to get involved and make its presence felt. After all, our region brims with ambition and ability, and is home to a diverse community of thriving entrepreneurs and innovators.
Indeed, one of the essential elements of the festival is the telling of authentic New Zealand stories, and this is another area where we excel. There is much interest from outside – and, increasingly, inside – in genuine Kiwi stories; and nowhere has more of these than Northland.
Techweek 2021 is big on celebrating these regional stories, or what the organisers describe as "tech-related examples of inspiration, education and commercial success for local regions throughout New Zealand".
Other themes, which form the backbone to this year's festival, include: taking tech to the world; attracting tech investment, and tech talent; start-up stories (success for entrepreneurs, small businesses, and SMEs); accelerating business growth with tech; inspiring tech careers for the next generation; future tech workforce (career-change pathways); connecting communities, and good for the world (sustainable innovation and technology).
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These themes are designed, among other things, to raise the profile of your business and of New Zealand as a desirable destination for technology, innovation and research; to inspire people of all ages to engage with the tech sector; to find ways to digitally enable small businesses; to showcase how New Zealand's local tech businesses succeed globally; and to highlight technology's role in wellbeing, sustainability, digital inclusion, climate change and clean tech, while making the world a better place.
As ever, The Orchard, Northland Inc's business and event hub (our own hive of connectivity), will play its part. We intend to host our own lunchtime speaker series, conduct interviews, provide a platform for Techweek TV, and present a variety of other activities, both in the run-up to and during Techweek.
Of course, you can also talk to an innovation specialist at Northland Inc to validate your unique and creative ideas, and to access grants through Callaghan Innovation, New Zealand's Innovation Agency.
Or you might have questions about intellectual property protection advice, starting up research and development, capital raising, technical and scientific support, or advanced manufacturing and materials.
For more information on these questions, please contact email@example.com.
Meanwhile, let's celebrate the fact that a world-class festival is coming to our doorstep here in Northland; let's get connected and, in doing so, put our wonderful region firmly in the spotlight.
For more information on how to get involved, or to learn more about this year's festival, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Fees to host events and further information can be found here https://techweek.co.nz.
• Sophie Wiltshier is an innovation specialist and head of the growth adviser team at Northland Inc.