The New Zealand Israel Innovation Hub (NZIIH) is a not-for-profit initiative that facilitates collaboration, communication and enterprise between Aotearoa New Zealand and Israel’s tech sectors. It also takes on a business council role by advocating for export in both directions. The Tel Aviv hub was founded just last month.
The New Zealand Israel Innovation Hub was founded in 2021 with an ambition to develop a prosperous and mutually beneficial economic and collaborative relationship between Israel and Aotearoa New Zealand – brought about by connecting the tech sectors in each country. The idea to launch the initiative was born from realization that for Aotearoa New Zealand’s future prosperity, it must undergo a similar tech transformation to the one Israel went through in the early 2000s and thus Israel in a unique position to assist with this. The NZIIH has offices in New Zealand and Israel. As a non-profit entity and not financially supported by either the New Zealand or Israeli Government and all revenue is returned to the business for the benefit of its ongoing operation.
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Josh Brown, the Founder and Executive Director of NZIIH, told Calcalist, “I think the main thing for me was having frustration working for the New Zealand Government, frustration with Government bureaucracy. Governments by their nature are very slow-moving creatures, whereas I think New Zealand needs to quickly undertake a tech transformation… I believe that an organization like this could possibly provide some solutions.”
NZIIH explains New Zealand is a small, isolated country in the South Pacific. As of 2019, its main income is derived from tourism (main service export) and primary industries, with milk powder, forestry and meat consisting of its key exports. The country has a moderately complex economy ranking 54th in the world (ECI). Although growing rapidly at around 5.4% year-on-year, its tech sector contributes 8% to GDP and exports around $9 billion globally. Auckland is by far the tech center of New Zealand with Wellington’s tech community being about half its size. Christchurch and Hamilton tech companies contribute to the nation’s GDP in smaller amounts. Fintech is the fastest growing tech sector, growing 35.7% in 2019 (year-on-year).