Late last year I joined NZ Rise, to be honest I didn’t know much about the organisation before rocking up to the first meeting. To paraphrase in my own words – we are a collective of NZ Owned and Operated Technology / Digital Sector (which I will call Tech Sector from here on in) companies, who are all passionate about the success of our industry which is emerging as a significant contributor to the success of NZ Inc.

As a collection of business owners who are all facing similar challenges we discuss a number of focus ares – Talent and Capability, Intellectual Property (and protection there of), Procurement and Engagement, Exporting and new markets.

Our co-chairs Paul Ramsay and Don Christie are both people I have respected in their respective businesses and leadership roles within the Wellington Tech sector for a long time and as an NZ Rise member I have enjoyed being closer to the influence they can bring to bear on challenging topics we all face. As representatives of our collective Paul and Don meet regularly with NZ Government Ministers covering a range of ministerial portfolios and with the heads of various organisations including the larger NZ Government departments, the Government CIO and other equivalents across the sector.

NZ Rise goals are fantastic:

  • Ensure the global competitiveness of the New Zealand IT industry.
  • Increase the profile, size, and skill base of the NZ IT industry.
  • Inspire young New Zealanders to enter the IT industry here in New Zealand.
  • Improve the export orientation of our industry.
  • Educate other sectors about the capabilities that NZ companies have to service their needs.
  • Be a strong voice for NZ owned and operated IT companies.
  • It is recognised that we, as existing companies, have an obligation and interest in achieving significant growth on an ongoing basis.

Key benefits I am enjoying as a business owner member of NZ Rise:

  • Expanded network and connections
    • Opportunities for partnering and collaboration, opportunities to identify others in my local community with skills and experience my business can leverage and vice-versa
    • Meeting and talking to other business owners in the same sector, we are all in the same boat which lends itself to a completely different level of engagement
    • Connecting with others who share my passion for the community we live in, our local and national economy and the success of our entire sector.
  • Speaking with a collective voice
    • Describing our position as NZ Rise vs just me, a small business owner, lends weight to many conversations
  • Enhanced engagement with NZ Government and Government Agencies
    • As a representative group of NZ owned businesses our collective voice is stronger than any one of us individually
    • Different members are meeting and engaging with NZ Government and sharing their experiences and insights with the group
    • Invitations to engagement opportunities I had previously been unaware existed especially on focused topics such as exporting
  • Access to great minds
    • The NZ Rise discussion forum is full of great questions answered with experience based advice
    • Leveraging connections, learning about the awesome stuff other member companies are doing

The nuts and bolts

We meet on a monthly basis, each meeting has an invited external speaker bringing a different perspective, to date all of the speakers have been fantastic with great topics we can leverage or learn from – eg: when projects go wrong how to recover, procurement processes in multi-million or billion $$ industries, education sector discussion on talent growth.

We have presented to MP’s and met with Local Government to showcase the wonderful success stories our Tech Sector in NZ has to offer along with educating them on what’s happening locally and what NZ companies are achieving on a global scale. Our Auckland chapter is growing with motivated companies involved there and the dialogue with ATEED and Auckland SuperCity is coming along well too.

As mentioned above there is an online forum for members to update on events, discuss news, ask advice, provide links to really interesting and topical things for our sector and so on. It’s not moderated just a collection of business owners collaborating. For me establishing this community has been the primary benefit.

So if you are an NZ owned Tech company feel free to get in touch and see whether you would realise these same benefits. No regrets on my part. Happy sharing Vic.