There’s an emerging new breed of ambitious and capable entrepreneurs among our ranks who are helping to position Auckland globally as a leading innovator, worthy of attracting high-quality talent and investment.

Exceptionally talented, creative and fearless, this new generation of future leaders are building new, technology-based businesses that will help create quality jobs for a more prosperous Auckland.

Auckland’s technology sector is a key driver of long-term growth. The region is home to almost half of New Zealand’s tech sector’s income, employment, GDP and exports; contributing $7.8 billion in GDP to the Auckland economy and providing 47,682 jobs. 

With technology disrupting existing industries, and predictions that 40 per cent of the jobs we do today will disappear within the next ten years, it’s even more important to encourage this new breed of entrepreneur.

As Auckland’s economic development agency, ATEED works to build a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation, supporting a range of initiatives designed to seek out and nurture fresh talent and provide the support needed to get new ventures off the ground.

ATEED’s Māori Innovation Challenge, DIGMYIDEA – now in its third year – is a nationwide competition which aims to entice more Māori into the thriving technology sector. All Māori who have an interest in technology have the potential to become successful entrepreneurs and DIGMYIDEA is designed to help them on the journey. The competition is unique as it targets an untapped part of the New Zealand economy – namely Māori innovation. 

The hugely successful Lion Foundation’s Young Enterprise Scheme is also supported by ATEED and has been running in New Zealand schools since 1981. The programme is delivered to year 12 and 13 students giving them the chance to set up and run their own business for a year.

ATEED also works closely with a range of accelerator programmes including student entrepreneurship initiatives and digital startup programmes such as Velocity, X Challenge, Flux, Sprint Launch and a new concept, Zero Point Sprint, which ran a one-off trial in 2018.  

Velocity, a flagship programme of the University of Auckland (UoA), is the region’s most established and successful tertiary student entrepreneurship initiative designed to give participants the skills needed for an entrepreneurial career as well as create tomorrow’s blockbuster companies. Many student ventures established through Velocity have gone on to do great things, demonstrating impressive growth and attracting investment.

X Challenge is another student entrepreneurship programme run by Auckland University of Technology (AUT). X Challenge, although relatively new, is gaining momentum and developing a talent pipeline for Auckland’s workforce and startup sector.

Other programmes like Flux and Sprint Launch target moonshot tech entrepreneurs. Flux, run by 
The Icehouse, is Auckland’s premier digital startup accelerator supporting high-growth potential startups. Through a rigorous and highly competitive vetting process, Flux identifies an annual cohort of around six ventures to undergo intensive coaching and capability building, culminating in New Zealand’s biggest ‘pitch’ event which includes local and international investors.

Sprint Launch, soon to be rebranded Sprint Global, run by the ecentre in Albany, attracts 
high-growth-potential ventures and has a focus on customer acquisition. Entering its third year, Sprint Global makes a welcome contribution to Auckland’s entrepreneurship scene and in particular North Auckland’s rapidly growing tech sector.

ZeroPoint Venture’s mini-accelerator, 0.Sprint, also came to market last year in a trial run. The initiative supported wannapreneurs through an intensive one-week programme that helped participants to overcome their single greatest challenge. 

ATEED, which also facilitates GridAKL in the Wynyard Quarter Innovation Precinct, remains focused on building Auckland’s culture of innovation and entrepreneurship including exploring new ways to help take budding, and potential high-growth entrepreneurs onto the next level.