New "Kiwi Innovation" Initiative to be Studied

  • Dr Lockwood Smith

The Government is considering a new Kiwi Innovation initiative which would help small, innovative businesses raise the capital necessary to expand, Trade Minister Lockwood Smith said today.

The study is part of the Government's Policies for Progress programme and is designed to contribute to the Government's goal of enhancing New Zealand's competitiveness.

"Many of our most innovative business ideas come from New Zealand's small and medium sized enterprises, but often they have difficulty raising enough capital to expand and start exporting," Dr Smith said.

"Kiwi Innovation is an exciting concept which would enable ordinary New Zealanders help fund the growth of fledgling New Zealand businesses."

Kiwi Innovation would involve establishing an Innovation Market, which is a public market including a virtual share trading room on the Internet. Once given membership by purchasing shares in the Innovation Market, the public can invest in the various businesses listed.

Only companies which have been researched by internationally recognised venture capital experts would be floated on the Innovation Market. The companies would be innovative, growth-orientated, have strong business potential, and would preferably be in the early stages of commercialisation.

The Kiwi Innovation initiative would be based on a Swedish "IM" concept which is also operating in Norway, Denmark and Holland and set to be introduced in the United States and the United Kingdom. The programme's originator, Dr Eric Pohl, will be in New Zealand this week for meetings with Dr Smith, government officials and business people.

The Government has set aside $28,000 for investigation of the programme's feasibility. Once the feasibility study is completed, the Government will assess what would be required should it decide to proceed with the programme.