Southland businesses looking to embrace innovation will this week have the opportunity to be inspired by the 2019 New Zealand Innovator of the Year.

Ian Taylor, who just last week was named the 2019 New Zealand Innovator of the Year, will speak at an Innovation in Business event hosted by Venture Southland on Thursday, 21 February 2019.

The lunchtime event will highlight the important role innovation plays in business success, outline the innovation programmes and support networks available in Southland, and allow those attending to learn more about Taylor’s successful innovation journey.

Venture Southland Business Accelerator Programme Manager Ben Lewis said given Taylor’s most recent award the event will be valuable for people at any stage of their innovation journey.

“With exceptional expertise, creativity and passion, Ian will encourage those attending to embrace the benefits of innovative thinking,” Lewis said.

To further develop innovation in the South, Lewis coordinates the Business Accelerator Programme which is a satellite for the national CreativeHQ programme based in Wellington.

The programme works with start-ups and entrepreneurs, giving them the tools and resources they need to succeed in Southland’s business climate.

With the first intake of the Business Accelerator Programme for 2019 due to begin at the end of February, Lewis said the opportunity to listen to Taylor’s journey will be an inspiring start for both course participants, and those considering programme intakes later in the year.

Alongside speaking at the Innovation in Business event, Taylor will also be in town to inspire James Hargest College Year 12 students as one of the guest speakers at the “2019 – My Best Year Yet” event, also being held on Thursday, 21 February.

James Hargest College Year 12 Dean Simon Richardson has organised the one-day event that includes a mini careers expo, to challenge and inspire his Year 12 students for the upcoming school year.

Venture Southland staff member and Southland Youth futures coordinator Allison Beckham will be speaking at the event on work readiness and employer expectations.  

Beckham said she was looking forward to engaging with the students, helping them determine possible career pathways and recognise the opportunities available in Southland.

“The start of the school year is a great time for students to set goals for the future and at this event, we will inspire students to make plans to achieve them,” Beckham said.