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Technology for all: Packed agenda planned for Techweek2021

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The global phenomenon TEDx is officially coming to Techweek2021. “We are very excited to have TEDxAuckland launch Techweek2021, themed ‘Connecting for a Better Future’ – something TEDx is all about,” says Elliott Blade, producer of TEDxAuckland.

In an exciting development, we are connecting TEDxAuckland to open things up with a day of new ideas. “Innovation requires new thinking, and new thinking starts with new ideas, TEDxAuckland is all about ideas you have never heard before,” says Blade.

Furthermore, Techweek promises a not-to-be-missed programme of events taking place over the length and breadth of New Zealand. The agenda is fast and furious, kicking off with TEDxAuckland, followed by more than 200 live, virtual and hybrid events scheduled for the days between 22 and 30 May.

The nationwide series of events showcases and celebrates local innovation and offers a platform for people to meet, share ideas and create connections to enhance the future world. “Technology is the future, it supports the economy and by 2030 will be New Zealand’s largest export,” notes Graeme Muller, Chief Executive Officer at NZTech.

“But there are challenges. We have a real skills shortage in New Zealand – technology development outpaces talent development, and before COVID we relied on immigration for in-demand skills. Now, maintaining momentum depends on looking within.”

With the country’s technology and innovation sectors growing rapidly, the independent Techweek platform fosters development through the national ecosystem with a week-long opportunity for connection, collaboration and showcasing innovation stories.

“By raising the profile of technology, the events demonstrate how not only businesses but also all of New Zealand can find advantage. Techweek aims to create digital equity and attract a broader audience, including entrepreneurs, young Maori leaders and women, all of whom make vital contributions,” Muller adds.

The TEDxAuckland partnership brings through a new generation of kiwi ingenuity and leadership to kick off a week-long showcase of New Zealand’s innovators.

There are ten themes around which this year’s Techweek presentations and events are structured, with clear relevance for innovators and entrepreneurs tackling uniquely Kiwi challenges. These include taking technology to the world, attracting technology investment and talent, and accelerating business and economic growth with technology. Muller says he is particularly enthused by the themes of celebrating regional and start-up stories.

Notably, ‘technology solutions’ for growing businesses don’t have to be complex, and neither are they inaccessible for everyday Kiwi companies. For example, the session ‘Grow Your Business with Marketing Automation’ shows how managers can set up simple systems capable of generating new leads, building and managing email lists, and turning subscribers into customers.

The ‘Rural Connectivity Symposium’, meanwhile, focuses on a crucial foundational aspect of technology – access to the internet. Taking place in Hamilton, this session brings together telecommunications operators, farmers and other stakeholders with a view to delivering better solutions for rural enablement.

And with cybersecurity a growing challenge, ‘Growing Your Cyber Security Superpowers’ livestreams from Whangarei, providing people anywhere in the world an opportunity to better protect their organisation.

“Remarkable examples of innovation routinely crop up from the most unexpected places,” he comments. “With necessity the mother of invention, smart people engaged in primary industries, education, small business and many other pursuits continually amaze through their creation, adoption and application of digital solutions to commonly-encountered problems. That goes to the heart of what innovation means – often, it isn’t about creating something entirely new, but applying emerging and increasingly affordable technology to do it better.”

Whether those problems are climate change, a reboot for the tourism industry, better harvesting and processing for fruit growers, or intelligence driven dairy farming, Muller says answers which combine human ingenuity and technical capability are at hand.

He adds that Techweek connects businesses, and thanks to the very technology it promotes, the programme of events have sparked global interest in New Zealand’s technology. “Many other countries are now engaging through Techweek, investing capital, creating partnerships, and more. Ultimately, while the focus is technology, it’s all about people and bringing everyone on a journey to a brighter future.”

Techweek2021 is on from 22 to 30 May 2021. View the programme and learn more at www.techweek.co.nz.

About Techweek2021
Techweek2021 is a national celebration of tech and innovation presented by NZTech. During 22 – 30 May 2021, physical, hybrid and digital events that showcase the use of technology in Aotearoa New Zealand will take place across the country. Techweek2021 is supported by the Auckland University of Technology; Callaghan Innovation; IBM; Auckland Unlimited; Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment; Ministry of Education; New Zealand Trade and Enterprise; ANZ; Chorus; Media Design School; NZ Growth Capital Partners; Beca; CENNZnet; Tower; Access Advisors and The Ice House.

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