Software and virtual reality specialist Company-X has welcomed the news that Hamilton will be the headquarters of the New Zealand Institute of Skills & Technology (NZIST).

The NZIST is merging the country’s 16 institutes of technology and polytechnics along with all industry training organisations into one national organisation.

Company-X supported Waikato economic development agency Te Waka, Hamilton City Council, Waikato-Tainui and Waikato Chamber of Commerce in January when they made a joint registration of interest to locate the NZIST head office in Hamilton.

“Company-X supported the joint registration of interest because it made sense,” said Company-X co-founder and director David Hallett.

“We have always seen the Waikato, with Hamilton at its heart, as the Silicon Valley of New Zealand, resplendent with a diverse array of growing businesses in the technology sector.”

Company-X co-founder and director Jeremy Hughes welcomed the formation of a national skill and technology institute and was excited to hear Hamilton’s bid was successful.

“We’ve been sponsoring the education and development of students in the Waikato for some time and it’s fantastic to see Hamilton chosen as the location for NZIST. We rely on highly skilled graduates coming from our tertiary institutions to compete in the global technology market, helping increase our weightless exports.

“When you look at the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the world economy you see how essential it is to focus on weightless exporting for New Zealand."

Company-X has continued to grow throughout the pandemic, exporting software being used across the globe.

“We are really excited with NZIST being based in the Waikato as well as the opportunity to assist wherever we can in helping with the improvement of the early tertiary skills in the technical sphere.”

Company-X employs nearly 60 software specialists and has ranked on the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 Asia Pacific for three consecutive years.

Company-X was one of more than 40 business and community leaders who supported Hamilton’s bid.

Te Waka chief executive Michael Bassett-Foss said the news was a huge boost for the city and the region at just the right time.

“Winning this competitive bid for NZIST headquarters is a testament to how the Mighty Waikato rallies together when it counts, and we want to thank everyone who helped make it happen, especially our industry leaders who supported the bid,” Bassett-Foss said.

Hamilton Mayor Paula Southgate said Hamilton had made an “absolutely compelling” bid.

“The decision makes perfect sense in so many ways. Hamilton and the Waikato region is already home to a network of very strong education providers, we are ideally located in terms of New Zealand’s population, and local industry swung in very strongly to support the city’s efforts to bring it here,” Southgate said.

Waikato-Tainui CEO Donna Flavell said, “We are excited for the opportunities that this will provide to our people and the wider community. Waikato-Tainui is absolutely committed to shaping our new tomorrow and this represents a tangible mechanism to allow that to happen.”

Waikato Chamber of Commerce executive director Don Good said he was proud of the cohesive way that the bid was put together.

“It was refreshing and inspiring to see so many key organisations and talented individuals come together to secure Hamilton as the NZIST headquarters. Working together on projects such as this demonstrates our collective strength.”

Company-X also supports Smart Waikato’s Secondary School-Employer Partnership (SSEP) with regular software developer visits to Waikato secondary schools designed to inspire students to study science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

Company-X makes a point of hiring a large number of University of Waikato and Wintec alumni, with more than half its workforce holding a University of Waikato qualification, including the co-founder and directors Hallett and Hughes.