The tech sector is the fastest growing sector in New Zealand and Christchurch has historically outperformed the average New Zealand growth. Successful achievement of tech sector growth will support economic growth and wealth for the city. To support this growth a Christchurch Tech Sector Strategy (2015-2025) has been developed – this was led by CDC and involved a range of people from Christchurch, other parts of NZ and offshore.

To read a summary of the Christchurch Tech Sector Strategy, including challenges, opportunities, key findings and short-term priorities click here.

Our Strategy identified 5 themes

To achieve our vision we need to break the plans down into bite-sized chunks; below is a summary of the short-term priorities. The first four are all needed just to stay in the game:

1. Known

We must be known – let’s raise the profile of Christchurch’s tech sector locally, nationally and internationally.

Priorities
  1. Develop and tell our ‘story’, including the Innovation Precinct.
  2. Identify target audiences on and off-shore e.g. funders, influencers.
  3. Develop and support ‘sector advocates’ to speak out more.
  4. Educate, inform and encourage each other to get us known.
  5. Work with partners for government understanding and influence.

Progress Update – August 2016

* Target audiences have been identified that we need to raise our profile with. One of the key audiences is the Christchurch tech sector itself and the wider Christchurch community – including parents, educators and students.

* Work, led by CDC, is being done to develop a consistent ‘story’ about the Christchurch tech sector and how this links in with other work done about the Christchurch Story and NZ Story.  Draft messaging is currently being tested for feedback, with the aim of sharing across the tech community later in 2016 and including tools for tech companies to use.

* A number of individuals and companies have been raising their own profile through various ways, such as entering awards, publishing media releases, sharing media releases and good news with CDC and Canterbury Tech – who in turn can share across their digital platforms.

* Canterbury Tech has been creating good news stories and sharing businesses’ success stories.   * Henry Lane, EPIC Director currently has a slot on TVNZ’s Breakfast called Innovation Insider.

2. Connect & Support

We need to connect and support each other – the different parts of Christchurch’s tech sector must work better together.

Priorities
  1. Work with partners to increase connectivity e.g. Canterbury Software Cluster, Innovation Precinct tenants.
  2. Share experiences, what works/doesn’t.
  3. Bring in expert visitors sharing their experiences and making connections.

Progress Update – August 2016

* The Canterbury Software Cluster rebranded and repositioned itself as the Canterbury Tech Cluster in early 2016, bringing together the broader tech community.

* A number of national and global visitors have been brought to Christchurch this year with support from CDC, Callaghan Innovation, Canterbury Tech, Jade Software and others – including Adriana Gascoigne, Matt Hunckler and Ally Denton.

* There is continued growth of a number of meetup groups – including User Experience Design, Sales Hacker, Product Management and Product Marketing, Christchurch Women in Tech.

* Relationships are continuing to grow between schools and business to give students real work experiences.  CDC is working with Careers NZ, Ministry of Education, industry and the education sector as part of the project Nurturing Home Grown Talent. * CDC and the Ministry of Awesome created an Innovation Ecosystem Map in 2015 to help entrepreneurs in the tech sector.

* EPIC Westport – a spinoff of Christchurch’s EPIC – opened in early 2016.

3. Go Global

We need to go global – Christchurch tech businesses and entrepreneurs will have the inspiration, knowledge and capability to grow globally.

Priorities
  1. Coordination and communication of events e.g. KLP, NZTE, AmCham.
  2. Capability focus on sales, marketing, pitching, investor-readiness.
  3. Linkages with funders, advisors, experts e.g. KEA NZ
  4. Global trends – exposure to, understanding of and “what it means to me”.

Progress Update – August 2016

* Singularity University is coming to Christchurch in November 2016.

* There has been increased coordination and communication of events in Christchurch such as Kiwi Landing Pad’s Sales and Marketing Jam and the American Chamber of Commerce’s US Market Entry event.

* The establishment of Canterbury Angels – the region’s angel investment network, in 2015, which connects members with high growth potential companies driven by New Zealand entrepreneurs.

* CDC and NZTEA are developing a project to support businesses looking to break into the USA market.

4. Talented

We need talent – Christchurch’s tech sector must focus on attracting and developing great local and offshore talent.

Priorities
  1. Continue Nurturing Home Grown Talent initiative.
    • Build profile and inspire students to consider tech as a career
    • Support and encourage connections between schools and industry
  2. Women in Tech initiatives.
  3. Maximise opportunity of the ICT Grad School.
  4. In-work exposure for students.

Progress Update – August 2016

* The Nurturing Home Grown Talent initiative continues – led by CDC, supported by SLI, Orion Health, Assurity, TE Connectivity, CCL, secondary principals, Ministry of Education, tertiaries, Careers NZ, Greater Christchurch Schools Network, CORE Education.  Focus has been on building the profile of the Christchurch tech sector and inspire students to consider tech as a career by:

o Presentations to educators and school groups.

o Supporting and encouraging connections between schools and industry, with students visiting businesses or having business people come to their schools.

* Women in Tech initiatives:

o CDC is working with NZTech to form a Christchurch branch of the Women Exec network.

o The monthly Christchurch Women in Tech Meetup now has 300 plus members.

o The Adriana Gascoigne Girls in Tech events, supported by CDC and Jade Software, were held in July and attracted good numbers of attendees.

o A strategy was implemented for the Canterbury Tech Summit 2016 to increase female involvement, with 22 percent of speakers being women and one of the three MCs.

In order to have significant impact on the scale, growth and attractiveness of Christchurch’s tech sector we also identified ‘game-changer’ opportunities:

5. Centres of Excellence

We must develop centres of excellence – in areas of commercial, research and academic capability that will set Christchurch’s tech sector apart.

Priorities
  1. Work with partners to understand and develop the opportunity for a health-tech centre of excellence.
  2. Integrate as part of the Christchurch tech sector story.

Progress Update – August 2016

* A draft project plan has been developed which will look at potential ‘clusters’ or ‘centres of excellence’.  Further work is continuing on this during 2016, led by CDC.