Wellington, the “coolest little capital in the world” according to Lonely Planet, isn’t backing down from its aims to become one of the biggest tech hubs in Australasia, launching a competition to send five Australian startups and SMEs across the ditch to tour the city and meet business and industry leaders.
The competition, the result of a collaboration between Positively Wellington Tourism and Grow Wellington, is part of the Wellington Adds Up campaign that is looking to show Australians that business can be done better, and cheaper, in Wellington.
It follows on from the earlier Wellington Works digital campaign, which sought to encourage Australian developers, analysts, strategists and UX designers to relocate to Wellington.
Jo Coughlan, Councillor for Economic Development at Wellington City Council, said the campaign is part of the council’s plans to attract new business investment.
“Australian visitor arrivals to Wellington have increased 25% in the last five years, with more than 200,000 Australians spending at least one night in the capital last year. The Destination Wellington programme was launched to expand on our success as a visitor destination, profiling our competitive advantages and lifestyle benefits in order to drive new investment and growth through talent and business attraction,” Coughlan said.
Gerard Quinn, chief executive of Grow Wellington, added that Wellington is one of the most affordable cities to live in in Australasia. The median house price is $415,000 (Sydney’s may be pushing $1 million by December), while office space costs an average of US$26 per square foot, compared to an average of US$78 per square foot in Sydney.
“New Zealand’s economy is strong, and we have significantly lower taxes and operating costs relative to Australia. Add to that Wellington’s affordability and exceptional performance in quality of life surveys, and it makes for a solid case,” Quinn said.
Another advantage New Zealand has over Australia is its faster internet speed of 25.7mb/s, compared to Australia which sits behind most developed nations at 16mb/s.
According to Statistics New Zealand, Wellington has New Zealand’s greatest concentration of web-based and digital businesses, while the World Bank Group has ranked the country second in its Ease of Doing Business index for the last two years.
The City Council also recently announced plans for a major tech innovation precinct in the city, with development set to begin on a Tech Hub.
To enter the Wellington Adds Up competition, participants need explain in 25 words or less why they’re interested in expanding or starting their own company in Wellington.