Callaghan Innovation to take over care of Lightning Lab, the accelerator programme for high-tech startups

The Lightning Lab business accelerator programme is being moved under the care of Callaghan Innovation to provide a single access-point for high-tech businesses looking for help with R&D, innovation and commercialisation support services.

Formerly, Lightning Lab, an accelerator programme created in 2011 to support the ICT and digital technology startups, was under the care of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

CEO of Callaghan Innovation Mary Quin says: “The Accelerator Programme has a strong fit with Callaghan Innovation’s role as the single front door for business R&D, innovation and commercialisation support and services, as well as its management and funding of the business incubator network.

“It also builds on our existing links with promising new ICT start-ups, entrepreneurs, mentors and early stage investors.”

Accelerator Programmes typically run for between three and six months and are focused on building firms’ capability to be investment ready. They provide an intense acceleration from initial idea to market readiness and aim to develop a new generation of innovative technologies and companies that will drive growth in New Zealand’s digital technologies industry.

Accelerator Programmes complement Callaghan Innovation’s expanded network of eight business incubators, which includes three new technology incubators designed to get more deep IP-based start-ups off the ground. While incubators provide up to two years of co-funding and access to repayable grants for start-ups, accelerators provide start-ups with access to mentors, business planning, and investors. 

A nationwide rollout of the Accelerator Programme pilot so far includes three entities that have been selected to run programmes under the Lightning Lab brand:

Co-funding for Accelerators is at a rate of 1:2 government to private $250,000 from government is matched with $500,000 from private sector funding.

Callaghan Innovation is a government organisation created in 2013 to accelerate the commercialisation of innovation by businesses in New Zealand.

Callaghan Innovation provides a one-stop shop access to skills, advice, support and technical services that businesses need to turn ideas into internationally marketable products and services faster and more successfully.

Besides providing research and technical services that support near-to-market innovation by businesses, Callaghan Innovation also provides funding of $141 million a year in grants for businesses.