Christchurch to receive multi-million business accelerator


A multi-million dollar business accelerator is opening in Christchurch to help young digital companies take on the world.

The Vodafone initiative will sit right in the heart of the city's new innovation precinct, and local entrepreneurs are thrilled.

The prize is free office space, access to expert advisors and a share of an annual $150,000 a year seed funding.

"I'm interested in being a part of it for sure, and may be even putting an application in," says entrepreneur Cameron Richardson.

Vodafone xone is a business accelerator designed to put tech company start-ups like website and app developers on steriods.

There's space for ten companies - with the programme running for six months of every year.

The winners start in May, and will be housed in Vodafone's unfinished South Island headquarters.

"We want to help them build their businesses in New Zealand, and help them take them to the rest of the world, through the network of Vodafone and the 26 countries around the globe," says Vodafone consumer director Matt Williams.

The cost is expected to run into the millions, and there will be help from the Government's Callaghan Innovation Fund.

"It's 900,000 dollars, it is a big investment, but we think it's a really important one," says Jonathan Miller from Callaghan Innovation.

Vodafone has already set up six xones around the world, but Christchurch will get the first in New Zealand.

"It looks like it's going to be a really cool space there, in the CBD, in the innovation precinct, and it would really great to be a part of that, and some of the other cool businesses surrounding it at as well," says Mr Richardson.

It's a fitting home, as the earthquakes have fostered a real climate of innovation here.

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