The technology industry of New Zealand is the country's third largest export earner behind dairy and tourism, and generates over $7 billion in annual revenue. Technology touches on every other major market segment, and is the fastest growing, highest per-capita earning industry for the country. On the domestic front, ICT contributes nearly $20 billion to New Zealand's economy and employs over 40,000 people.
Innovation is the Priority
Over the last decade, New Zealand has established many of the institutions required to nurture the domestic innovation ecosystem such as business incubators, angel and venture fund groups and commercialisation units within Universities and government agencies. Successful initiatives to develop entrepreneurs and an increasing recognition of the importance of entrepreneurship has led to the focus on supporting business growth and export capabilities, particularly in the technology sector.
Innovation has also been identified by the New Zealand government as one of the six priority sources of economic improvement. The Ministry of Science and Innovation (MSI) was established in February 2011 as the key government agency to support the growth of science and innovation for the country.
Government Programmes for Growth
The government is currently funding internships for post-graduate students to undertake research & development in businesses to improve the linkages between Universities and businesses. Over the 2011/12 University summer holidays, the government has invested over $1.25 million for 200 scientific, engineering and technology undergraduates to undertake research and development projects for hi-tech businesses.
Over the past three years, government increased the Marsden Fund for research by $42 million, an increase of 31% on the three years prior. This enables post-graduate students, post-doctoral researchers and the most eminent scientists in New Zealand to further cutting edge research.
New Zealand Technology Businesses
According to the Technology Investment Network report (TIN 100), an annual census that tracks the vitality of the ICT, hi-tech manufacturing and biotech businesses in New Zealand, a revenue decline in the sectors in 2010 has been reversed and turned into a 5% increase overall for 2011 with a strong continued growth pattern forecast.
The top 100 technology companies included in the report recorded revenues of NZ$7 billion and current export levels are up by 4% to achieve revenue of over $5 billion. That compares with revenues in the dairy industry of around $11 billion in 2010.
From the 200 companies surveyed, employee numbers grew by 5% to 30,000, while revenue specifically in the information and communications technology area grew by 13%.
But perhaps the most encouraging statistic is that the number of companies with revenues of $50 million or more surpassed 30 for the first time in 2011.