We're drawing to the end of the inaugural Sprout accelerator programme. Over the next few weeks we will be announcing more about the progress of our companies.
In the meantime, last Wednesday in Hamilton we held a small invite only event for Sprout investors. We're so fortunate to have such a fantastic group of people and organisations who are contributing to Sprout’s success.
Below we share some specifics on how our partners have contributed so that you, our community, can see just what has been contributed:
Sprout would not be possible had it not been for the support of Callaghan Innovation. Sprout works with a number of different teams in Callaghan Innovation, from the programmes to client teams, who are tasked with assisting some of New Zealand’s largest corporations to grow their involvement in innovation and R&D.
From introductions to key potential partners and Sprout applicants, through to strategic insights into innovation and R&D globally, Callaghan Innovation’s input is invaluable.
Dion Cawood and the team at LIC have gone over and above in their support of the programme.
In Hamilton, the Sprout teams spent two days working from the LIC Innovation farm. This facility is a true indication of LIC's commitment to innovation - providing a place for start-ups and other partners to trial technology and products on farm.
At the block course in Ashburton, Dion travelled down to take the teams through a Design Thinking workshop. This workshop was a favourite from the Sprout programme because it made everyone think differently about problem solving and design.
Rob Heebink (Head of R&D) and Mark Harris (Marketing Manager for Animal Management) have been huge supporters of the programme.
Mark supported the decisions on the selection committee and both Rob and Mark were guest speakers at block courses, helping companies understand more about how to build products for the farm environment.
The Sprout block course in Hamilton also saw the Sprout teams visit the Gallagher manufacturing facility and the teams worked through an IP workshop within the inspiring Gallagher board room.
Bill Murphy and the team at EA have been fantastic. A number of our companies have attended EA Investor events in Tauranga and Hamilton.
This has assisted companies to get the ball rolling with investor and advisor conversations.
Larry Ellison’s entrepreneurial stories have resonated with a large number of the entrepreneurs in the Sprout cohort. Having founded and exited a number of businesses in the rural sector, Larry understands exactly what is involved in building good businesses. His stories of struggles and triumphs have encouraged teams that the ups and downs they go through, are part of the course.
Larry has also been a realist for companies, and upfront about the challenges some of the Sprout companies will face as they desire to grow. Larry’s wife Jane has also attended a number of events and often provides sound advice to companies about the entrepreneurial journey.
Massey University are leaders in agritech research. Professor Ian Yule is globally renowned for his research into Precision Agriculture (PA.)
There are many technologies which have been generated at the University, which are now products farmers use every day. Massey University’s relationship with Sprout includes Professor Claire Massey’s involvement on the Advisory board, Massey’s sponsorship of the programme and providing access to their agritech experts as sounding boards for the Sprout team and Sprout companies.
Sprout is very fortunate to have Massey University as a Sprout partner.
The team at K1W1 are a founding supporter of Sprout. While the team there hasn’t been visible publicly at block courses and mentoring, their skills in investment and new venture growth are often called on as a sounding board for the Sprout team.
MiG is the investment group that has partnered with BCC. MiG has provided seed investment for Sprout companies as well as being active in considering following on funding requirements for Sprout companies.
Vision Manawatu is the local Economic Development Agency in Manawatu. They sponsored the Sprout block course programme. The team at VM are incredibly supportive of initiatives in the Manawatu that seek to build capability and economic activity and Sprout is an initiative they see great promise in for the region and is in alignment with the growth agenda in Agribusiness for the Manawatu region.
ANZ has been a partner of BCCs for a number of years. Assisting to get a wide number of start-up initiatives off the ground, including Innovate, the lower North Islands premium entrepreneurial idea competition.
ANZ’s support has assisted Sprout with delivering the block courses around New Zealand.
AJ Park are one of New Zealand’s leading Intellectual Property advisers. AJ Park provides invaluable advice to young technology companies in New Zealand on how to generate value from their intellectual property.
For the Sprout 2015/16 programme, AJ Park led a fantastic workshop on the basics of intellectual property at the block course in Hamilton. The workshop allowed the Sprout companies to get a strong understanding of what their intellectual property was and how they should go about generating value from it.
AJ Park also provided each company with one on one advice on their specific intellectual needs.
Air New Zealand
Air New Zealand plays a large, often overlooked role in helping New Zealand businesses grow. We are very removed from the markets we need to access to grow. Air New Zealand moves kiwi entrepreneurs around New Zealand and the world and they do it in a style that makes being away from our families, friends and country we love, just a little bit easier.
Air NZ has been a big help in moving our Sprout teams around New Zealand for our block courses in Palmerston North, Ashburton, Invercargill and Hamilton.