The Business Centre and Ministry of Awesome have come together across the Tasman Sea to expand opportunities and support for entrepreneurial innovators based in the Hunter Valley and high growth start-ups in Canterbury through an international start-up exchange program.

This New Zealand-Australian partnership will initially see entrepreneurs placed for one month to access mentoring, peer-to-peer training, and networks and to build partnerships for their start-up or scaleup.

They will also gain access to an exclusive EY (Ernest and Young) hosted pitch night to conclude the program in Christchurch.

Steve Wait, CEO of The Business Centre at the opening of the Te Ōhaka - Centre for Growth & Innovation, in Christchurch NZ.

Steve Wait, CEO of The Business Centre at the opening of the Te Ōhaka - Centre for Growth & Innovation, in Christchurch NZ.

Ministry of Awesome is the starting point for entrepreneurs, start-ups, and innovators in Christchurch.

They are a founding partner of Te Ōhaka – Centre for Growth & Innovation which is Christchurch and Canterbury’s high growth start-up incubation hub.

Like the Business Centre, they deliver the support, guidance, capability training and networks that entrepreneurs need to succeed.

Similarly, the Business Centre provides unique programs allowing regionally-based innovators to access the services and opportunities that are often only accessible in capital cities.


The Business Centre CEO, Steve Wait, said Christchurch and Newcastle have a lot in common, including experience of renewal following adversity.

“Newcastle’s re-growth following the 1989 Earthquake and the closure of the steelworks demonstrates our two resilient communities have a shared experience of re-growth, renewal and self-reliance. So, it’s a logical progression we work together,” Steve said.

“Like Newcastle, Christchurch has invested in Smart City technologies and the second cities movement, laying the groundwork for obvious opportunities.”

The collaboration across the Tasman is set to bring about more than just ideas from innovators, Steve said.

“In the spirit of collaboration, we hope to not only exchange ideas, methodologies and entrepreneurial processes but more importantly partnerships.”

Chief Awesome Officer of Ministry of Awesome, Marian Johnson, believes the start-up culture of these two cities is ambitious and full of potential.

“Christchurch is New Zealand’s newest city and our start-up and innovation ecosystem is rolling out the red carpet to support entrepreneurs with bold ambition, deep capability and extraordinary ideas,” Marian said.

“We are over the moon to work with our likeminded colleagues across the Tasman at The Business Centre to reveal huge opportunity for our respective entrepreneurs.”

Start-ups and scale-ups interested in participating in the one-month exchange to New Zealand are encouraged to reach out to The Business Centre team.

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