Despite the downturn in the dairy industry, businesses based at Waikato Innovation Park have reported strong growth and financial results.
In the Park’s annual tenant survey results released earlier this month, the gross turnover of all Park tenants in 2016 was more than $427 million, up 42 per cent from $300M in 2015. This reflects an upward annual trend with $188M reported in 2014 and $155M in 2013.
"Businesses based at Waikato Innovation Park make a significant contribution to the regional and national economy, and that contribution is growing year-on-year," said Waikato Innovation Park CEO Stuart Gordon. "Waikato Innovation Park is a hub for innovation and our tenants work in agricultural, environmental and information technology as well as food processing, research and development, communications, human resources and food science, to name but a few areas," said Mr Gordon. "It’s a great place to do business."
Compared to the national average, Park companies are significantly more likely to be exporting their products or services overseas and to be engaged in research and development.
Some 68 per cent of Park tenants were actively exporting their products or services overseas in 2016, compared to 30 per cent nationally. Some 61 per cent of Park tenants were engaged in research and development last year, compared to 14 per cent nationally. Some 20 per cent of Park tenants reported job growth in 2016, compared to just two per cent of companies nationally.
Last year Waikato Innovation Park was home to 46 tenants. There were 562 people working at the Park, a growth of 17 per cent since 2015. A further 1049 staff were employed by Park businesses, based elsewhere in New Zealand or overseas. Many of the businesses at the Park are small businesses - more than half of those surveyed (54 per cent) said they had less than 10 employees.
Mr Gordon said that Waikato Innovation Park was a collaborative environment, and more than one-third of Park businesses reported collaborating for work. "There is an amazing synergy and buzz about working at Waikato Innovation Park," said Mr Gordon. "People enjoy being here. They can catch up over coffee at our on-site cafe, or bump into each other while walking across the campus between buildings. Ideas and collaboration happens everywhere."
The Waikato Innovation Park site is earmarked for further growth, with a masterplan that includes expansion of the campus’ innovation and research precinct and its food and technical development centre. The current site has four buildings, including the spray dryer - and 16 buildings are envisioned in the masterplan. A multifunctional, dynamic meeting space for visitors and employees is proposed as a hub at the heart of the Park. "The survey results reaffirm our vision and strategic direction for the Park," said Mr Gordon. "Happy tenants and a collaborative, innovative working environment add up to a business community that plays an important role in the economic development of the wider Waikato region."
Almost all of the Park’s 72 businesses - 96 per cent of them - responded to the survey.