New industry group reflects the massive role IT plays in the region’s economy.

There’s strength in numbers.

Waikato IT businesses and professionals have, this month, launched the CultivateIT cluster in recognition of the sector’s significant contribution to the region’s economy.

IT is one of the Waikato’s three biggest contributors when the total value of goods produced and services provided in the Waikato are counted. The Waikato’s IT sector employs more than 2600 people, and contributes more than $100M in exports and $700M to New Zealand’s Gross Domestic Product.

The CultivateIT cluster was formed to bring together the wealth of small and medium-sized IT companies, and other technology professionals, working in the Waikato.

CultivateIT was launched in February, at Waikato Innovation Park in Ruakura, Hamilton, at a day long business networking event by Government minister and Hamilton East MP David Bennett.

David served on CultivateIT’s establishment board alongside David Hallett, director of Hamilton software specialists Company-X, Graham Gaylard, chief executive of Hamilton IT and services company NetValue Ltd, and Rachel Kelly, executive director of Hamilton business growth experts SparkTank, as well as other technology sector leaders.

The establishment board has registered the cluster’s constitution and overseen the building of its website by Company-X sister company E9, of which David Hallett is also a director.

David Hallett, also chairman of the Waikato branch of Information Technology Professionals New Zealand, said working together was always better than working apart.

“Aristotle said that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts and that piece of ancient wisdom is as relevant to the formation of CultivateIT as it was when the ancient Greek philosopher coined the phrase three hundred years before the birth of Christ,” David Hallett said.

“It’s about lifting the profile of the region as a technology powerhouse.”

CultivateIT is about nurturing technology talent within the Waikato. Attracting and retaining great people in technology. Connecting talent within the technology ecosystem. It’s also about maximising business opportunities for member organisations. Promoting Waikato technology capabilities. Improving government tender outcomes. It will also concentrate on advancing the Waikato as a regional technology powerhouse. Encouraging more technology investment.

One of CultivateIT’s jobs will be to work closely with the Waikato’s education providers, the University of Waikato and Wintec, to ensure graduates leave with qualifications that are going to equip them well for working in the Waikato’s IT sector.

“We have got a number of strong IT companies in Hamilton,” said David Bennett. “Some are high profile and some are just getting on with business. We really need to encourage that sector in Hamilton.”

“We hope that CultivateIT will build on the success of the industry in the region, from individuals, to small firms, to the larger companies. We envisage that CultivateIT will be branding the strength of the IT sector, and foster an understanding of the importance of the sector and the opportunities it provides now and in the future.”

CultivateIT follows the launch of the Waikato Story, a set of business resources created to promote the region as one of the most productive regions in New Zealand. The Waikato Means Business project describes the Waikato’s prime location and diverse economy as the springboard for innovation and boundless opportunity, as it seeks investors and skilled workers.

Benefits of the Waikato

• Affordable housing

• Connectivity

• Dining and entertainment

• Exciting career opportunities

• Family friendly communities

• Lifestyle

• Low traffic

• Lower cost of living

• Personal safety

• Research and development