NEWS & ARTICLES
This week is your last opportunity to have your say on the proposed R&D tax credits bill with submissions closing on 14 December. Your feedback is needed so please don’t be one of those who complain about it in hindsight. Instead, just click the link and write a couple of lines about what is important for your business. If you have an interest in a software business or a high growth pre-profit business, the proposed bill may not be ideal. So, take a moment to help the Government understand how your business works and how to better define software research and development.
At the Digital Nations Summit in February, we hosted five future focused forums bringing together tech leaders, international experts, government agencies, Ministers and NGO’s to workshop the impact of technology on our economy and society. Separate forums discussed Future of Education and the Workforce, Future Health, Future Finance, Future Production and Future Society. Each forum identified the vital requirements to ensure a safe and prosperous future for all Kiwis. However, there was only one issue that spanned every single forum – digital identity.
One thing about technology is that if you know what you’re doing, it helps you find an awesome bargain! Driven by massive discounts, Black Friday sales may have reached $23 billion in the US, but here in New Zealand Black Friday sales didn’t live up to the hype with many retailers running regular discounts. There was also plenty of online chatter about firms advertising large discounts, with their ‘sale’ prices untruthfully higher than if you’d bought a week earlier!
However, with a little research and the help of local price comparison websites, I did find just the bargain I was looking for. I am now the proud owner of a brand new BBQ, but this is when the fun really started…
I love it when we all work together as NZ Inc! When I returned home from Europe four years ago, I was amazed at how fragmented the New Zealand business, Government and not-for-profit ecosystem was. Following research that found 66 tech industry groups individually trying to engage with Government, NZTech was formed in 2009. There are probably still 50 or so tech groups out there, but more of them are connected within the New Zealand Tech Alliance, sharing resources and members.
The Tech Alliance now brings together the 21 largest tech associations and there are another three currently onboarding. The Alliance is funded by over 800 paying members who together employ more than 10% of the New Zealand workforce.
It’s no secret, I enjoy being busy! This morning I am in Wellington catching up with MBIE and then Minister Wood. I am looking forward to chatting about the CTO role, amongst other things. Then, I have the privilege of presenting to the Future of Work Tripartite Forum who already have a significant work programme. I am sharing insights into the impact of exponential technology change, digital skills shortages and the AI Forum’s research on automation’s impact on jobs.
Tuesday starts with Digital Identity New Zealand’s establishment board meeting as this new entity gears up to launch. This new tech association brings together experts in digital identity, multiple government agencies, tech firms and academics to help fast track safe and effective approaches to digital identity for all New Zealanders. Earlier this year, at the Digital Nations Summit the number one call for action across all workstreams was the need for digital identity.
Last week, I had an interesting experience that drove home to me the need to consider more than just computers and the ability to teach digital technology.
Last week at the launch of the 14th edition of the TIN100 report, which analyses the largest New Zealand hi-tech exporting companies, it was great to catch up with everyone and hear about so many fast growing tech firms.
The team at TIN have been doing a wonderful job of surveying tech firms over the past decade, allowing us to follow the progress of the sector and a bunch of very talented people. Highlights included revenue growth of the top 200 firms by 11%, employee numbers up by 4.7%, profitability rose by 38%, and international revenues (or as TIN like to call them, exports) were up by 12.4%. Read more in the free Snapshot report.
I am looking forward to joining the TIN100 team on Wednesday in Auckland to hear how the top 200 tech exporters have progressed during the past 12 months. It’s fantastic to see the TIN100 team also in Wellington and then in Christchurch to share the great news.
According to a preview, New Zealand’s top 200 tech companies have achieved 38 percent profitability growth in the last year alone, which is the fastest rise since the report first started tracking movement in 2005. Additionally, the stock prices for the largest ten listed TIN100 companies by market capitalisation have risen 57.3 percent in the past year. I can’t wait to find out more!
Last week, at the NZTech Cyber Security Summit I hosted a leader’s workshop on how to enable better information sharing so that we can all learn from the experiences of those that have been attacked. There are all sorts of reputational risks for firms to disclose they have been hacked, but the value from sharing this information is enormous. The answer seems to be encouraging more organisations to share with CERT, the relatively new Government agency that aggregates this information. In a recent global analysis, the average cost of a data breach was $3.8 million. As more firms share data with CERT in New Zealand, the real costs of poor security practices will become more apparent. I believe that ensuring all firms are cyber secure is nationally important, so cybersecurity remains an area that NZTech continues to work closely with the Government and our membership.
I hope you enjoy the short week.
Strengthen connections in digital health at the HiNZ Conference, 21-23 November in Wellington. Join the AI Forum at the 31st Australasian Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence 11-14 December in Wellington.
Last week was particularly busy. It began with the Board meeting for the relaunched Blockchain Association and finished with Blockworks, which is the best blockchain event I have ever attended.
During the week I also attended the Board meeting for BIOTechNZ and later listened to Minister Parker share his extensive biotech experience and hopes for biotech in New Zealand. As a country we are on the cusp of a biotech production surge.
The week also included a meeting with major participants in the FoodTech space as some of the major food producers, food innovation networks, universities and local/central governments came together to start building a strong, national ecosystem.
Momentum is also building in Wellington with GovTech. I met with a burgeoning group who are creating an inclusive, neutral group for GovTech, however there are still more critical stakeholders needed around the table. By working together with a Government that has proven its desire to be agile and do things differently we can collaborate to improve the way technology is procured and help agencies design innovative new services for citizens. Ideally, we can also sell some of these offerings into the rapidly growing $600 billion GovTech market.
With initiatives like the Lightning Lab GovTech Accelerator, the new Government Marketplace and service innovation labs it is clear there is desire to do something better throughout the New Zealand Government and tech sector. However, occasionally we still see procurement processes or RFP’s that resemble times of old. IT Professionals, NZRise and NZTech continue to work in close partnership with DIA’s GCDO team and the MBIE procurement team to improve the efficiencies and fairness of the system. Please remember, we can only address what we are told about, so if you come across something that isn’t working well, make sure you let us know.
This week’s highlight will be the Cyber Security Summit in Wellington that we are hosting with our event partner Conferenz. The recent CERT report shows that cyber threats are continuing to grow, so the conference brings the experts together to share best practice. I hope to see you there.
Join the AI Forum’s Connect event on 30 October in Dunedin. Learn more about the AI Forum’s 2019 research project and how you can be involved, Towards Our Intelligent Future: New Zealand’s AI Roadmap.
Attend Leveraging Spatial Data for New Zealand Agriculture on 8 November in Hamilton. Attend the Geospatial Careers Symposium on 17 November in Auckland. Join SIBA for The Diversity Agenda on 24 October in Wellington.
CanterburyTech are currently recruiting for a General Manager. The Techweek team are also hiring! They are currently recruiting for a Community Coordinator, Festival Coordinator and a Project Administrator.
Last week I found myself passing through several regional towns as I headed to Taupo to present at a conference. Some like Matamata, Rotorua and Taupo were vibrant and busy with tourists. Others, like Tokoroa, are showing the signs of tougher times with peeling paint and shops shut along the main road. You have to visit regional New Zealand to really appreciate why the provincial growth fund is so important.
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