At yesterday’s NZTech AGM, the Chair, Mitchell Pham, provided details of the continued growth of New Zealand’s technology sector. Against the backdrop of COVID-19, the numbers were impressive. The sector is going from strength to strength.
The event itself however reflected the times we live in. 36 hours before, we had been all set for an in-person event at the ANZ HQ in Auckland. The announcement by the government of a return to Level 3 lockdown changed all that. Hotels were cancelled and we reverted once again to ZOOM.
The same conditions applied to Agritech New Zealand’s own planned annual Strategy Day. It had been scheduled as an in-person event yesterday, prior to the start of the NZTech AGM. ZOOM once again joined the party.
Talking of parties, next Friday’s New Zealand Hi-Tech Awards Gala Dinner in Auckland has also been cancelled. It will now become a virtual event. Another hotel room cancelled and petrol saved as we settle into our domestic ‘bubble’ in Tauranga.
Whilst the digital economy is thriving in these uncertain times, the events of the past 48 hours have demonstrated the impact on other sectors of our economy. Hospitality, events and accommodation providers are clearly suffering. With borders closed for the foreseeable future, there will be no respite from inbound international tourists or business travelers. Tough times indeed.
(There is one action you can take to support businesses in these sectors. Go to https://sosbusiness.nz/ and sign up for pre-paid vouchers at your favourite cafes & restaurants. It will provide them with some vital cashflow as they navigate these challenging times).
For businesses operating in the agritech sector, things are looking much more positive. New Zealand’s primary sector is holding up with exports continuing to support the country’s broader economy. Lack of labour is driving the demand for more automation and this in turn is seeing a growth in both researchers and start-ups engaging in this space.
For Wharf42, this ongoing activity is central to our plans for the next few months. As we reach out to our offshore networks, New Zealand’s agritech sector has a great story to tell. The challenge for us and the wider sector is to how we communicate our story through further potential lockdowns and the ongoing disruption it causes.
For Wharf42, New Zealand’s agritech sector is still very much ‘open for business’. That will be the message that we will continue to promote in our new role at Agritech New Zealand and elsewhere .
It’s a message that needs to be heard.
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