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NZTech AGM Strategy Update
NZTech announced healthy financials and a growing membership base (30 new members in the past 6 months) at the 2015 Annual General Meeting on July 23rd in Auckland.
With 80 members in attendance the AGM included the announcement of new Board members, recognition of long serving members, an update on NZTech’s strategy and guest speakers from NZX, Snowball Effect, Harmoney and KiwiConnect.
Following a strategic review at the end of 2014 the NZTech Board and CEO agree that the organisations purpose still remains true – to help create a prosperous New Zealand led by a vibrant technology sector. The key strategic areas of focus to drive this purpose are still Education, Skills & Talent; Growth & Exports; and Strong Government Relations.
NZTech has developed a nice representative membership base from a scale of tech company perspective with 10% being major corporates, 12% large NZ IT firms, 23% SME firms, 20% startups, 7% education, 8% relevant government agencies and the remainder a variety of affiliates. Yet with over 19,000 companies in the tech sector NZTech plans to continue expanding its membership to become even more representative of the sector.
All research points to the fact that connecting clusters to create larger and stronger networks across the tech sector will be needed to create real growth and compete internationally. Given the growing scale of NZTech’s membership we now consider our own membership in terms of clusters and provide different types of connections, information and advocacy for startups, major corporations, growth companies and locally focused IT firms. At the same time we have started discussions with a number of other industry associations toward developing some form of national alliance on areas of shared and national importance. This stitching together of clusters into a national cluster of clusters is an additional strategic focus for NZTech for the coming year.
As well as continuing to work on our core strategic focus areas of making an impact on the education system, helping tech businesses grow and working with the government NZTech will continue to bring an increasing number of opportunities for members to connect and learn from each other. NZTech now delivers over 50 member events a year. Helping our international growth companies remains important so the organisation is scoping opportunities to deliver additional tech tours in the coming year, most likely to the US, but also possibly up to Asia.
NZTech have launched 4 major summits to bring together the tech sector, the users of technology and the government around very topical subjects – Security, Government & Technology, Education & Technology and Women in Technology. The growth of our NZTech Women community from 100 to 350 means we are going to continue to focus on extending this into new cities and we will work on delivering a national Shadow Tech Day to give young girls a chance to experience a day in a tech firm by shadowing tech leaders.
In terms of really making a change, NZTech has four major initiatives underway.
NZTech has launched a detailed economic impact study. This research has been designed to show the comprehensive size, complexity and economic impact of the New Zealand tech ecosystem, including an understanding of flow on effects for other sectors and the development of an ongoing performance index. The project is a co-funded exercise, a collaboration between the industry and the government. With the results, due in February 2016, we hope to be able to help guide public policy across many areas.
We will also be expanding our work around helping push out the SFIA framework. A common language for skills in the sector. With this we hope to be able to survey the sector and identify what actual skills are needed now and forecast future needs. This will help us influence immigration and education policy.
Education is formally on the NZTech Board agenda as the place where we would like to support and accelerate change. Improving the use of technology and the teaching of computer sciences in schools will be critical for the future of New Zealand.
And finally, the time is right to increase the noise around the country’s need for clear leadership from the government and the development of a national digital strategy. The economic impact study will provide a strong fact base for us to show how important digital technology is for all sectors. We will be approaching this subject in a more systematic way during the year and will up our media activity to attract the public into the debate.