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Ara Ake and the Auckland Business Chamber have signed a partnership to lead an Aotearoa New Zealand consortium in joining the Enterprise Europe Network (The Network) as the New Zealand International Network Partner.

The Network is one of the world’s largest service providers for innovative enterprises. Active in over 60 countries, the Network has to date delivered significant impact for over 2.6 million global SMEs who have benefitted from long-lasting commercial partnerships.

As part of the partnership, New Zealand’s future energy centre, Ara Ake will focus on energy innovation, and the Auckland Business Chamber will enable opportunities for a wide range of SMEs both in New Zealand and Europe.

“We view this partnership as a significant milestone for New Zealand innovators to solve climate-related issues,” says Ara Ake Chief Executive, Dr Cristiano Marantes.

“This partnership will open doors for innovators, helping them to access the Network, including the ability to tap into its strong network,” says Dr Marantes.

The Auckland Business Chamber has also praised the development and its contribution to enabling innovation.

“We’re looking forward to collaborating with Ara Ake and the Enterprise Europe Network to accelerate engagement, and strengthen business and innovation ties between New Zealand and Europe,” says Auckland Business Chamber Chief Executive, Simon Bridges.

The partnership also complements the recently signed Free Trade Agreement between New Zealand and Europe, and the Auckland Business Chamber has already committed to being a valuable contributor to the work supporting the agreement.

“The EU and New Zealand are tackling the challenge of climate change together and I’m delighted that Ara Ake and the Auckland Business Chamber are teaming up with the Enterprise Europe Network for this decarbonisation journey,” says European Union Ambassador to New Zealand, Nina Obermaier.

“Ara Ake sits at the heart of the New Zealand innovation community as an advisory platform in the low emissions space, which is the European Union’s number one priority in its economic relations with New Zealand. As we embark on the EU-NZ Free Trade Agreement this partnership is a concrete milestone and will pave the way for new business opportunities,” says Ms Obermaier.

The Network will help connect New Zealand businesses with European businesses that are, in many cases, world market leaders in their industries, and which will offer support through mentoring, free access to training, and the transfer of technologies and good practices.

“International trade is crucial in raising living standards and enabling consumers to enjoy a greater variety of goods. The presence of the Enterprise Europe Network will be instrumental to reaffirm that the European Union and Aotearoa New Zealand are longstanding partners with shared democratic values and interests, aligned positions on key international and regional issues, strong people-to-people ties, and a growing and mutually-beneficial trade and economic relationship,” says Natalia Martinez Paràmo, Head of the Single Market Program – COSME Pillar Unit within the European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency (EISMEA).

“I am elated that, thanks to a robust and ambitious application, both Ara Ake and the Auckland Business Chamber will join the Enterprise Europe Network until 2025, helping companies to secure their supply chains. Thanks to its composition, I am confident the Kiwi consortium will touch many industrial ecosystems generating much needed impact for SMEs in both trade blocs,” says Daniele Dosi, Project Advisor and Enterprise Europe Network Country Manager for New Zealand within the Single Market Program – COSME Pillar Unit of EISMEA.

“Through the Enterprise Europe Network, we look forward to expanding relationships with our European stakeholders further,” says Dr Marantes.

The New Zealand branch of the Network is scheduled to be operational by early 2023.