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Survey of Waikato Innovation Park companies shows buoyancy

Survey of Waikato Innovation Park companies shows buoyancy

"Fostering innovation and the growth of the companies based at Innovation Park is adding value to the region and value to the country."

These words come from LayerX group chief executive Bruce Trevarthen who took part in Waikato Innovation Park's recent survey of its 34 tenant companies. Results show collective turnover of the respondents 1 is up 18% from one year ago.

Seventy-nine percent (79%) of the companies surveyed reported some financial growth, with an average of 33% growth.

LayerX, a hardware, software and service delivery company, reported 186% growth over the 12 month period. CEO Bruce Trevarthen credits its growth to working with companies with a similar ethos, having a great team, more credibility in the market for cloud services, and refining the software development side of the business.

"We create efficiency through smart technology and have a prescriptive journey around understanding the customer's problem, finding the right solution, and then building it. It's good to find customers who value that journey - it ensures the outcome delivers on promise," said Mr Trevarthen.

LayerX's outstanding growth is also due in part to their push into the Canadian market. "We have spent seven years refining and re-turning our product and we can now take it into a market like Canada with confidence and credibility," he said.

Thirty-three of the 34 Innovation Park companies who responded to the annual company survey collectively reported gross turnover of over $188 million. This is up from approximately $160 million just one year ago.

"Eleven of our companies have turnover greater than $3 million – which is one more company than reported sitting at this level last year. Fifty-six percent (56%) have turnover between $250,000 and $3 million, up from 48% last year. Only three of our companies have turnover of less than $250,000, which is an 8% drop from last year's survey results," explained Waikato Innovation Park CEO Stuart Gordon.

"All-in-all, the companies here at Waikato Innovation Park are doing really well. Revenues are growing and they are generally achieving this with the same number or fewer staff."

In January 2013, surveyed companies employed 1213 staff. Those same companies now employ 1183 staff, 421 of which are based at the Waikato Innovation Park. Sixty percent (60%) of the surveyed companies have less than 10 full time employees, down from 62% one year ago.

"Finding the right staff is difficult for many of our companies, with one out of every five companies (21%) identifying staff recruitment as a major challenge," said Mr Gordon.

Bruce Trevarthen of LayerX affirmed this challenge: "New Zealand's people resource is thin. We've recruited some talent from Auckland – people who are looking for a better quality of life and lower living costs. We're also looking at the option of exchanging staff between New Zealand and our company in Canada as one way of retaining good people."

While the Waikato Innovation Park companies are growing their revenues, slightly less of that turnover is reportedly coming from exports. Seventy-nine percent (79%) of the survey respondents are actively exporting, which is down slightly from 83% this same time last year.

"Of those companies exporting, the United States has gained ground as a trading destination. Fifteen percent (15%) of our exporters are doing business in the States, which is up from eight percent (8%) last year," said Stuart Gordon. "Surprisingly, China now only represents six percent (6%) of our exporters' total markets, which is down from nine percent (9%) last year."

Twenty-three percent (23%) of Innovation Park exporters trade with Australia, which has grown from 14% one year ago. Europe has also grown from 19% to 25%.

"A delightful surprise in the results was that over 75% of respondents are actively engaged in research and development of new products or services. This is up significantly from fifty-eight percent (58%) just one year ago," said Mr Gordon.

-ENDS-

Stuart Gordon CEO Waikato Innovation Park