Nelson, Tasman and Marlborough have seen a 60% increase in businesses undertaking research and development (R&D) and innovation activities through Callaghan Innovation in the last year.
Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith announced last week an additional $74.6 million in funding through the Innovative New Zealand programme in Budget 2017 to meet the growing demand for Callaghan Innovation’s research and development (R&D) Growth Grants.
The Nelson Regional Development Agency (NRDA) is government’s designated Regional Business Partner across the top of the south charged with administering the Callaghan Innovation R&D Grants and support services.
NRDA’s Regional Business Advisor – R&D, Mark Maguire, says the funding boost has come at the right time, as a ground swell of local interest is occurring in the R&D and innovation space presently.
“I’m really impressed with the wide range and calibre of businesses looking to move away from commodity based products and turning to R&D to create high value-add products and technologies, or new and novel processes, in order to increase productivity.”
Maguire notes an increase in smaller businesses undertaking smaller R&D projects. “Often, it’s the smaller businesses that think innovatively and outside the box.
“We knew there were a lot of valuable ideas happening within our region and the response to Callaghan R&D grant activity and the wider innovation support programmes has confirmed that. Innovation is vital in creating a vibrant economy and we can be confident that entrepreneurship is alive and well across the top of the south.”
The Growth Grant is one of six R&D grants the Government makes available via Callaghan Innovation in order to help businesses to grow through innovation.
“We anticipate over $1m in R&D grant funding to be accessed by our local businesses this year,” said Maguire.
This desire to create stronger growth opportunities, often with ambitions to compete in the export space, has a very positive flow-on effect to Nelson, Tasman and Marlborough’s regional economy, Maguire said.
“Our role is to support businesses to commercialise these ideas as well as connecting local businesses to worldwide expertise with the result of forward thinking, competitive and sustainable businesses.”
The NRDA is the local business development contact point for R&D funding support and wider innovation expertise, provide a single front door into Callaghan Innovation for businesses at all stages in any sector – from start-ups through to the most experienced performers.
“If you don’t know where to start please get in touch. There is an array of support available, not just grant funding, for businesses in the R&D space.”
Regional Business Advisor – R&D
021 532 053