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As the whole New Zealand environment for turning ideas into income morphs into something better, stronger and faster, it’s worth revisiting independent think tank The NZ Institute’s ‘Plugging the gap’ discussion document.

This report sounds out an internationalisation strategy for New Zealand, proposing 14 policy directions to improve the success of businesses trying to establish themselves in international markets.

As the Ministry of Science and Innovation evolves its national network of commercialisation centres (among many initiatives really), many parts of the document should be required reading.

One of these proposals is to establish an information clearinghouse, concentrated in one strongly branded location so that everyone is aware of where to look and what is available.

Institute director Rick Boven says such information in New Zealand is currently too scattered and too difficult for a business to easily find.

The report (find it here) says that specifically, one single utility information clearinghouse should be the preferred service provider or access point for:
• Access to public good information such as standard solutions
• A directory of expertise, providers an advisors in science, engineering and commercialisation
• Problem solving forums in research, development, business development and internationalisation
• Provision of useful research findings to commercialisation providers and businesses
• Matching of entrepreneurs with business opportunities
• Matching of investors with investment opportunities
• Matching of specialist staff with employment opportunities
• Connections to New Zealand networks overseas, and
• Connections to relevant international solution and resource providers

“Establishing a single information clearinghouse will release resources currently consumed in making connections via less efficient means, while reducing search and transaction costs for businesses,” the report says.

“More important, it will make connections that would not otherwise be made. Concentrating promotion efforts on a single high value clearinghouse brand will increase participation by domestic and overseas people because they will be able to connect more efficiently and effectively.”

The report says existing networks that are working well should be connected to the clearinghouse – not all information needs to be managed by it, but all useful information should be accessible from it.