W2W channels Kiwi tech innovation (BEST PRACTICE)


Paul Spence (Cockatoo member) is a Wellington based technology blogger (http://www.genius.net.nz), management consultant and CEO of ideegeo Group Limited a web software developer.


Unlimited Potential is a Wellington-based volunteer managed networking community for ICT professionals and entrepreneurs.


UP puts on monthly events supported by local sponsors and invites anyone interested in IT to turn up for after work beer and pizza plus a themed presentation. The group is co-sponsored by Grow Wellington, the regional economic development agency.


In November 2008 I managed an event called “Wellington to the World” (W2W) – a half day program of talks on emerging technology plus presentations from technology entrepreneurs with recently launched ventures.


In the evening we hosted a networking session for all attendees. Members of a local angel investors group participated and mingled with guests and presenters. The idea for the event sprung from a realisation that, despite a wealth of ideas and talent, New Zealand’s isolation from the major consumer and financial markets makes it difficult for small or start-up tech businesses to compete offshore. 

Smart companies from NZ (and Australia) need to find networks and bridge-builders to help pave the way for access overseas. Consequently W2W partnered with the KEA Global Mentors program to match the young tech firms with people offshore who could help. KEA is a global network of over 25,000 New Zealanders living abroad.


Presenters at W2W were selected through an intense interview process to ensure quality pitches and a variety of products. After the live event we deployed the entrepreneur presentations on Youtube.


NZ Trade and Enterprise then shared the video content around its global trade missions. It was a natural progression to use a video site given that many businesses are enthusiastically adopting social media to share their sales message. Because of time zone differences and local bandwidth constraints we decided on an asynchronous rebroadcast and avoided the cost of live video content streaming.


Around 80 guests attended the event and hundreds visited the video channel and viewed content.


We later heard that one tech entrepreneur received an approach from a U.S. venture capital firm within 24 hours of posting the video content online. Angel investors were excited by the emerging technologies and approached the local university for further talks.  Subject to securing sponsorship, the event will be repeated in 2009. We hope to extend the scope by inviting participation from across NZ.


Weblinks: http://up.org.nzhttp://www.youtube.com/UPW2Whttp://www.keanewzealand.com/


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