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PlantTech – a triumph for Tauranga!

As someone who grew up in Tauranga and then left for over 10 years to study, start my career and travel the world, coming home to ‘settle down’ always came with mixed emotions. On the one hand I was coming back to a place where you could leave the office and be walking around the Mount within 10 minutes, but on the other hand I was worried that my career would be compromised as the Bay was not known for its innovative, robust, thriving business community at that time.

Fast-forward 7 years and all that has changed. The Bay is now the fastest growing region in terms of population, GDP, and employment growth. We are now much more than a beach, much more than $10 Tauranga and much more than the place for the newly wed and the nearly dead.

Hopefully by now, if you live in the Bay of Plenty, you have heard Friday’s announcement that the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has granted $8.4m funding over five years to establish a new technology research institute in the Western Bay. This is big news for this region!

Behind this bid is over a year of hard work by a key group of individuals from well-known local companies, Bluelab, Cucumber, GPS-It, Eurofins, Plus Group Horticulture, Trimax Mowing Systems, Waka Digital and Zespri International, alongside Priority One and the University of Waikato.

Together these organisations have developed the PlantTech concept to accelerate innovation in the Western Bay, using the region’s horticulture industry as a testing ground for new technologies and services. Through participating companies, PlantTech’s research will be commercialised nationally and globally in markets ranging from sports fields to hydroponics to logistics to primary industry land use, as well as horticultural technologies.

As a technology company which has worked with a number of clients in the horticulture industry over the last 13 years, including some of the other founding members, Cucumber knew this was an opportunity we needed to be a part of for a number of key reasons:

  1. We have always been firm believers that innovation does not exist in isolation and therefore the more collaboration, the higher the chance of success. This is the very premise that the research institute has been built on and if the collaboration between the founding members in developing this proposition is anything to go by, there is amazing potential within this group.

  2. Anyone working in technology will understand that the war for talent began some time ago. There are just not enough good software developers on this planet to keep up with the demand from all corners of the globe. Having our HQ in a place that is known for something on the world stage means we have the best chance of attracting top talent to this region.

  3. Digital disruption is impacting every industry and the primary sector is not immune to huge changes in how we use land to produce the world’s food. We are excited to work with the research institute to identify ways in which we can increase the speed of innovation and adoption of digital technologies for our clients.

While this really is just the beginning, this is the beginning of something that has the potential to change this place for generations to come. Watch this space…