Tech in the Tron
Waikato Innovation Park

Waikato Innovation Park a hothouse for collaboration and growth

As one of New Zealand’s fastest-growing technology and agritech business hubs, Waikato Innovation Park is playing a crucial role in supporting and bringing together a vibrant community of tech and innovation experts from across the region.

At its inception 20 years ago, the hub started with just one building and a couple of businesses. Nowadays, it’s home to more than 70 businesses (800 employees) – all sizes and shapes – with a focus on dairy processing, agritech, software development and the internet of things.

Waikato Innovation Park

The Skypoint building and conference center at Waikato Innovation Park

According to the 2022 Waikato Innovation Park tenant survey, 49% of businesses located at the hub are exporting products or services to key markets including Australia, Europe, China and North America, with a gross worldwide turnover of $1,075m.

The same survey revealed gross turnover across both domestic and export-focused businesses at the hub had increased by 37% since 2020.

Waikato Innovation Park’s CEO, Stephen Veitch, says the cluster design of the campus was deliberate to drive business-to-business collaboration and cross-pollination of like-minded industries.

“That’s the biggest perk of being located here. People rub shoulders at events or over a coffee, share their stories, discover useful connections then build relationships, partnerships and find new opportunities together,” says Stephen.

Waikato Innovation Park meeting

Located just 10 minutes from Hamilton’s city centre and adjacent to The University of Waikato and AgResearch, Waikato Innovation Park has become known as the city’s ‘Knowledge Zone’. Spread across 17ha of land, the hub includes office spaces, labs, cafes, event and conference spaces and a vast range of collaborative and individual workspaces.

“It’s a networking-friendly environment, not just for businesses located here, but for locals and organisations outside the hub. Our shared spaces are booked 68% of the time and we facilitate social and networking events to encourage these relationships,” says Stephen.

Waikato Innovation Park cafe

And with plenty of wide-open green space with dedicated and free parking, it’s a welcoming environment that’s easy to access which, according to Stephen, is one of the “big reasons our companies retain staff.”

Stephen says they’ve seen all sorts of companies leverage the Park’s resources to achieve remarkable growth over the years. 

“Spring Sheep, for example, has experienced significant growth since they joined in 2018. After starting with just two people in a co-working space, they’ve now become an integral part of the Park’s ecosystem and were a key player in the development of our $50m spray drying plant.  

“With 28 staff, they’ve expanded beyond Waikato Innovation Park but their global headquarters remains here. And that’s just one example.”

Waikato Innovation Park building aerial shot

When it comes to future plans, Stephen says the goal is to continue to expand to meet demand.

“With around 60,000m2 of land still available for buildings, plans for the next office block are already designed. Plus, we’re looking into other future sustainability options such as solar energy.”

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