Digital Basecamp launches in Rotorua for creative tech entrepreneursM4t4r1k1
Over a series of months and through informal and formal hui, discussions and strategic planning sessions with other local tech visionaries, they came together with a shared vision to turn Rotorua into the ‘digital capital’ of New Zealand.
Others involved included Linda Goldsmith, Andrew Wilson, Chris Parnell (CG Design), Matt Dawson (TechCafe) and Adam Ellis.
“The reality is that there are highly skilled digital professionals who live outside of New Zealand’s main city centres, so we wanted to create a place in Rotorua where we could weave together our collective strength and create something magical”, said Mr Thomas, one of Digital Basecamp’s four managing directors.
The space has 30 members, including a mix of entrepreneurs, 2D/3D animators and illustrators, marketing ninjas, drone pilots, eSports (League of Legends) co-ordinators and app/web/CMS/game developers, who sit alongside what directors say is New Zealand’s first team of paid digital apprentices.
“We knew partnerships and pathways were fundamental to growing New Zealand’s digital economy, especially in the provinces and specifically in Rotorua, so we have joined forces with the Animation College, who have been visionary in their approach to nurturing the creative tech ecosystem”, said Mr Biasiny-Tule, another managing director.
The digital apprentices are Animation College third year students who each have desks within Digital Basecamp and work alongside experts in the industry.
They take on professional work and have four books and one app in the works.
The directors said the goal of Digital Basecamp was to grow existing talent in the regions and enable smaller towns to compete locally, nationally and internationally. Advertisement Advertise with NZME.
At the launch, ACG/Animation College chief executive Adam Berry said it was an auspicious and beautiful day.
“I look forward to being part of the journey going forward. I think there is tremendous opportunity there and the space will flourish.”
Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick said when people were gathered for the ribbon cutting, “there was a buzz of excitement, and a buzz of community and whanau that is very special, and we all felt it out there”.
She said the building was exciting and a phenomenal space.
“I just think it’s so inspiring you’ve grown to this today.”
Contributing to what is the third largest export sector in New Zealand (behind dairy and tourism), the tech sector was worth $6.5 billion in exports in 2016.