The government is giving New Zealand software firm Right Hemisphere a $12 million dollar loan to help boost international sales, keep the company in New Zealand and stimulate the growth and development of a cluster of similar businesses. Sounds great. Especially if you’re Right Hemisphere.
The deal is obviously not without its critics. Is it fair that one company should be singled out for special favour by cabinet—effectively playing the role ’Dragons’? Does it set a precedent where the taxpayer becomes venture capitalist in high risk ventures?
I feel the issue is complex and can see both sides of the argument. But as a card-carrying battler in the Creative Economy—my partners and I managed to launch Idealog based on our own sweat and ability to persuade sponsors and advertisers to participate in our idea—it would have been nice to have a tranche of cash made available with no interest component. I’m sure other entrepreneurs will feel the same way.
So, good on Right Hemisphere, I’m sure they will be watched very closely (bearing in mind our national proclivity to mow down the blades of grass that dare to sprout above the rest of the lawn).
It’s nice to know the government is putting your money where its mouth is in fertilising the creative economy (though interestingly the Treasury opposed the deal). Get your proposals ready. Perhaps an interest-free fund for small to medium sized enterprises with fast access to cash (if world markets are in your sights).
On the other hand who wants the dead hand of government on their board? Could be a Faustian deal.
What is your point of view?