The other Silicon Valley

Callaghan Innovation’s Kirsten Edgar and Karen Wong recall the busyness, businesses and bubbles of the Business Expo 2015 at the Petone Club last week.

It was Callaghan Innovation’s first appearance at the annual Hutt Valley business showcase.

There was a diversity of businesses from Wellington, Lower Hutt and Upper Hutt exhibiting at the expo with 90 stands in total.  We exhibited alongside members of the Technology Valley Group (Hutt Valley Chamber of Commerce, Hutt City Council, Wellington Institute of Technology and Open Polytechnic) which we contribute to.  The event was sponsored by the Hutt Valley Chamber of Commerce and GoFi8ure.

Estimates suggest between 700 and 900 visitors passed through the door.

The Callaghan Innovation booth, ready for punters

The Callaghan Innovation booth, ready for punters

Our booth was manned throughout the day by Callaghan Innovation staff and one of our local Regional Business Partners (RBP) from Grow Wellington acting as roving representatives, targeting the businesses exhibiting and pulling visitors into our stand.

The main attraction to our booth was the interactive stroke rehabilitation and gaming device, initially developed by Research and Technical Services, which has been commercialised by Im-Able.   This was showcased by Gregor Neumayr and was a big hit with the attendees!  We also had a looping video on a 60” TV screen showcasing our capabilities, Ipads loaded with Callaghan Innovation service information on the Showcase app, brochures, giveaways and a competition running on our booth.

For the competition, we invited visitors to answer the following question:  “If you can make one innovation/idea happen in your organisation/industry what would it be?”, with the prize being a “Better by Lean” workshop donated by Willem and his team.  The winner judged by Conrad Lendrum and Dean Peterson was Chris Northmore, Manager of James Henry Ltd, a family owned wood manufacturing business with 16 staff.  Chris was thrilled to have won the prize, and said that as a result of visiting us at the Expo, he had already looked into the possibility of doing a Better By Lean course and had emailed our customer service team to find out more information on how we could help his business.

There was great interest in Callaghan Innovation and what we do, from both visitors to the booth and people who chatted with our roving representatives.  Vanessa Young, our local RBP with Grow Wellington, noted that “it was good to see such a breadth of enthusiastic organisations/companies on what must have been one of the coldest days of the year!”

It also provided an opportunity to connect with people that we already know such as team members from the Lightning Lab Manufacturing accelerator, as well as broaden our knowledge of companies such as Ventech who have previously worked with us and now have patents in 11 countries for their product.

Callaghan Innovation also walked away a winner – aptly, we won the award for the “Most Innovative Stand”.  The prize was a plaque and a bottle of French champagne.

Winners are grinners: Karen Wong, Gregor Neumayr and Terence Betlehem

Winners are grinners: Karen Wong, Gregor Neumayr and Terence Betlehem

At the end of the day Mayor Ray Wallace and the Deputy Mayor David Bassett of Hutt City stopped by and talked to us (Paul Mather, Design and Manufacturing) about how they were delighted to see Callaghan Innovation at the Expo.

Congratulations and thanks to all of those involved, and all who dropped by to meet us.

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About Callaghan Innovation

Business. Technology. Success.
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