Waikato IT businesses and professionals have, this month, launched the CultivateIT cluster in recognition of the sector’s significant contribution to the region’s economy.
IT is one of the Waikato’s three biggest contributors when the total value of goods produced and services provided in the Waikato are counted.
Currently, the Waikato’s IT sector employs more than 2600 people, and contributes more than $100 million in exports and $700 million to New Zealand’s Gross Domestic Product.
As a result, the CultivateIT cluster was formed to bring together the wealth of small and medium-sized IT companies, and other technology professionals, working in the Waikato.
CultivateIT was launched in February, at Waikato Innovation Park in Ruakura, Hamilton, by Government minister and Hamilton East MP David Bennett.
Bennett forms part of CultivateIT’s establishment board alongside David Hallett, Director of Hamilton software specialists Company-X; Graham Gaylard, CEO of Hamilton IT and services company NetValue, and Rachel Kelly, Executive Director of Hamilton business growth experts SparkTank, as well as other technology sector leaders.
“Aristotle said that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts and that piece of ancient wisdom is as relevant to the formation of CultivateIT as it was when the ancient Greek philosopher coined the phrase three hundred years before the birth of Christ,” Hallett said.
“It’s about lifting the profile of the region as a technology powerhouse.”
Specifically, Hallett said CultivateIT is about nurturing technology talent within the Waikato, while attracting and retaining Kiwis in technology.
“It’s also about maximising business opportunities for member organisations,” Hallett added. “Also, promoting Waikato technology capabilities and improving government tender outcomes.”
Hallett said CultivateIT will work closely with the Waikato’s education providers, the University of Waikato and Wintec, to ensure graduates leave with qualifications designed to suit working in the region’s IT sector.
“We have got a number of strong IT companies in Hamilton,” Bennett added. “Some are high profile and some are just getting on with business. We really need to encourage that sector in Hamilton.
“We hope that CultivateIT will build on the success of the industry in the region, from individuals, to small firms, to the larger companies.
“We envisage that CultivateIT will be branding the strength of the IT sector, and foster an understanding of the importance of the sector and the opportunities it provides now, and in the future.”