I’m delighted to announce that Wharf42 has signed a Strategic Alliance Agreement with the New Zealand Technology Industry Association (NZTech) to work together to deliver the major Food & AgTech ‘Hero Event’ for Techweek 2018.

In May this year, Wharf42 organised Techweek 2017’s Farming2020 3-day event. If you want to view some of the 28 amazing presentations that took place over those three days in May, you should check out the Farming2020 Video Gallery. It’s an awesome collection.

Farming2020 delegates networking between presentations at the LIC Innovation Farm

At the time, I said that Farming2020 was much more than a 3-day event. It was designed as a platform to build something much bigger. And so 10 days ago, I spent the day in Tauranga with Graeme Muller, CEO of NZTech, and Jennifer Clamp, National Director, Techweek 2018 to discuss how best to develop that platform. The newly introduced concept of a small number of domain-specific Techweek 2018 ‘hero events’ set the tone for that discussion.

Essentially, these ‘hero events’ are going to be extensively marketed to international visitors through both new and existing channels. International visitors being targeted include corporate representatives, investors, entrepreneurs and others who want to establish connections with New Zealand businesses. Perhaps not surprisingly, New Zealand’s Food and AgTech sectors are high priorities for these outbound calls. We’re therefore expecting a large inbound delegation of folk to focus on Techweek’s major Food & AgTech ‘hero event’.

At my meeting with Graeme & Jennifer, I proposed a number of options to leverage Techweek 2018’s program. Yesterday, I followed this up with my first Food and AgTech ‘hero event’ prospect. More meetings are to follow.

Time is however relatively short. To provide the target international visitor market notice of Techweek 2018’s events means that the outreach program must start soon. So yesterday it was agreed that certain criteria had to be built into Wharf42’s planning:

  • The international delegates were most likely to be interested in meeting New Zealand ‘scale-up’ businesses in the Food and AgTech space. This means they had products in market, had customers and were looking to expand offshore. This focus would not however discourage either New Zealand startup or established business participation in the ‘hero event’. We agreed it’s just so important to demonstrate to the global market that New Zealand’s Food and AgTech ecosystem ranges from seed right through to established multi-national. Next year’s ‘hero event’ will reflect that.
  • Whilst the main ‘hero event’ would almost certainly take place over one day in one location, a series of related ‘festival events’ would be organised by Food & AgTech partners across the country. These could be either Food or Agtech sector focused (or both), i.e. food & beverage, dairy, horticulture, viticulture etc. These events would be timed to coincide with the journey map that the international delegation will take. That starts in Auckland on Monday 21 May and will end in Christchurch on Friday 25 May.
  • To be clear. Although the one-day ‘hero event’ would be based in one location, it would be a national event and businesses from across New Zealand would be encouraged to attend.
  • ‘Festival event’ partners would be responsible for the hosting, sponsorship and organisation of their ‘festival event’. It would enable them to showcase their partner products and services to both a local and international audience. Wharf42 would work with NZTech and the Techweek national organising team to ensure that the international delegation was made aware of these events, and encouraged to attend them, during their tour of the country.

Time, I repeat, is short. Over the coming days I will be reaching out to key partners across New Zealand’s Food and AgTech ecosystem with more details around our thinking.

In May this year, Farming2020’s target audience was largely domestic. Next year that focus flips to international. It poses a whole new set of opportunities that we are keen to share with the widest number of players in the country’s Food and AgTech ecosystems.

This is the breaking summary. Things are moving quickly. We want to create heroes.

If you want to contact me directly to talk more about this, please feel free to drop me a line at peter@wharf42.co.nz