The joke is that Wellington’s a good place for IT entrepreneurs because the weather forces developers and the like to stay indoors.
More likely given its concentration of internet and computing based businesses is the ability to rub shoulders with like-minded people.
“Wellington’s a small, connected community,” says Paul Spence, chairman of ‘Unlimited Potential’, an IT professionals group.
He says the region has 3000 IT professionals, whose collective realisation is that there’s strength in working with each other.
“There’s a Wellington buzz that we’re good at this,” says Spence, who is also chief executive of internet domain name register, iWantMyName. “We’re finding small groups to do start ups that are drawing on the expertise in the capital.”
Spence considers that it is the city’s creativity that is more significant than the (so-called bad) weather.
“There’s an arts and music scene that’s vibrant, and our positioning as creative has the effect of attracting creative people, often from overseas,” he says. “There’s something in the water that keeps them staying on.”
The question is how to build on that?
Spence sees small inroads, though one necessity is to ensure there’s capital available for creative people to develop their projects. There are investment gaps for some companies that are still small, but posting revenues, “but no one wants to touch them.”
He sees communities such as Unlimited Potential as having a role to play in bridge building between entrepreneurs, investors and creative people, acting as a type of catalyst.
The support of the Wellington City Council and its enterprise development agency ‘Grow Wellington‘ has also seen a resurgence he says.
Spence makes the point that Unlimited Potential is an apolitical organisation. “We’re happy to work with anyone who is constructive.”