It was an honour and a privilege for Venture Centre to be invited by Priority One, Tauranga's economic development agency, to present at their 2016 AGM.

Tauranga Tech founder and internet entrepreneur Ben Rickard explains why a vote for him is a vote to invest in the Bay’s tech sector.

This year residents of the Bay of Plenty’s growing technology community will have the opportunity to vote for one of their own.  Ben Rickard, internet entrepreneur and founder of the www.taurangatech.co.nz website has been nominated as the UnitedFuture party’s candidate for Bay of Plenty.  He has also been ranked 5th on their list.
 
“One of the reasons I decided to stand for parliament is so that I can help to support and accelerate the growth this region’s tech sector is experiencing.  I’m passionate about the Bay, I grew up here and am now raising my own family here.”  
 
A successful tech sector will bring further investment and high paying jobs to the region.  Perhaps even more importantly for the longer term, it will encourage entrepreneurs, innovators and forward thinkers to relocate here, bringing their ideas and dynamism to reinvigorate our economy and our communities.
 
“The Bay has some fantastic selling points for high tech business owners looking for somewhere to base their operations, including our wonderful outdoor lifestyle and climate.  We’ll also soon have our own university campus, supplementing our existing pool of high quality IT graduates.  Additionally, there is good access to venture capital here, through established groups such as Enterprise Angels, as well as through the Silicon Valley connections of Wharf42. Initiatives such as Wharf42’s Plug & Play Technology Incubator and VentureCentre’s Instigator programme show the investment that is going in to encourage tech entrepreneurs here."
 
“Personally, I’m involved in helping organise this year’s Tauranga Startup Weekend, during which participants take an idea, then build the team and the plan to launch it into the market, all in just 54 hours. I believe that investment at this level will return real economic benefits to the Bay and I want to bring this message to parliament. This is why I am running for election in the Bay of Plenty electorate."
 
Startup Weekend is a great way for aspiring entrepreneurs to find out if their startup ideas are viable, build scalable companies to solve real world problems.   Tauranga Startup Weekend is being held on 7-9thNovember at the new basestation co-working space.  Visit www.tauranga.startupweekend.org to find out more about how you can participate.