Ten Ways to Bootstrap Your Tech Idea

Despite the economic climate, it seems like there’s never been a better time to be a technology entrepreneur in and be supported with mentorship, investment and advice. Below are 10 initiatives targetted at helping aspiring technopreneurs get up and running in New Zealand. Note that some of these close off shortly, so don’t delay.

1. Grow Wellington – Activate Business Pitch

GW are offering a $4,000 Activate Scholarship to the best business pitch, as judged by their expert panel. The Activate programme is for entrepreneurs from all kinds of business sectors and is an intense 16 week programme aimed to inform and inspire. Applicants must be based in the Greater Wellington region. Closes 10th May.

 2. IRL – What’s Your Problem?

Industrial Research and A J Park have up to $1 million in technology research and development services on offer with the aim of producing more high value goods for export by adding value through R&D. The programme is ideal for established firms wishing to extend their product development pipeline. IRL have particular research strengths in energy, materials and life sciences. Competition closes 24th May.

3. Icehouse – Kickstart

The Kickstart seminars are packed with tips from experts and other entrepreneurs and are brought to you by the highly successful Icehouse incubator. The seminars cover sales, I.P., financials, funding and much more.

4. University of Auckland – Spark

Closely allied to the Icehouse programme is Spark the University of Auckland Ideas Challenge. There is a seminar on 5th May and the deadline for the  ideas challenge is 13th May. Ideas are submitted in writing and everyone gets feedback. There is also the spark $100K Challenge which is a separate intiative offering seed capital and business incubation at the Icehouse.

5. Adept – Designs for Life Award

Adept has been at the forefront of plastic processing technology and new product development in New Zealand for 40 years and now they are offering $50,000 worth of their product development expertise to an inventor or entrepreneur with a manufactured product that improves quality of life for people in some way.

6. UpStart – Dunedin

The Dunedin based UpStart incubator holds regular free seminars for budding entrepreneurs. There is also The Distiller group made up of young entrepreneurs and who offer support to others who are starting up.

7. Unlimited Investment Challenge

Unlimited is perhaps NZ’s leading publication aimed at entrepreneurs and they back that up with an annual investment challenge project. The 2009 programme gets underway in May. Watch this space!

8. Focus on Health – Innovation Challenge

Raising the profile of New Zealand health technology in the United States market is the aim of this New Zealand Trade & Enterprise sponsored initiative. Mentoring, introductions to key influencers and a substantial pool of cash prizes are on offer. Launch workshops begin in June.

9.  XMedialab

Perhaps the most effective and affordable globally focussed event for businesses involved in the digital media innovation space. XML comprises a conference day plus a weekend workshop for selected project teams. There are also social events at which the organisers can facilitate introductions to potential partners, investors and international mentors. XML will be held in Auckland this year 22-24 May.

10. W2W

Unlimited Potential will be hosting a half day showcase event in Wellington during October aimed at technology entrepreneurs and investors. If you have a new venture that has the potential to scale up and go global we’d love to hear from you. The half day event features entrepreneur pitches, technology researcher presentations and an evening social event attended by angel investors. For progress reports or to get in touch, please follow on Twitter @geniusnet or @upnz.

I probably missed something, so please feel free to post any additions in the comments below.

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