Waikato incubator finds new CEO

Waikato incubator finds new CEO

Claire McGowan, a director of GNS Science and AUT Enterprises, will step into the CEO role being vacated by CEO Graham Smith. Smith has spent a short time in the role after replacing founder and former CEO Cheryl Reynolds, who joined Momentum Foundation.

McGowan went to school in Waikato and spent time with Fonterra's then dairy research team while the organisation funded her PhD, which she says provided "nice links back to the primary sector and agritech".

Her most recent role was managing New Zealand Bootcamp, a public-private initiative to bring together primary sector and Maori agribusiness leaders.

She's currently a director of a Kiwisaver scheme provider and the commercialisation and investment arm of Te Arawa Lakes Trust and says she'll talk with Soda about continuing directorships that have synergies with Soda.

She'll work with a mix of established companies and startups at Soda, adding she enjoys the "optimism and endless possibility" businesses have at the startup stage.

Soda was one of five existing incubators recently awarded repayable government grants under a remodelled funding scheme.