How It Works

Twice a year, the Innovation fund opens its doors for an intake of applications. The next intake will be in August 2020.

  1. Focus area for intake

    The focus area for the August intake will be announced soon.

  2. Important Dates

    The next intake is open in August 2020



  3. Who We Fund

    We provide funding and expertise that support the identification, validation and championing of innovative ideas and opportunities that make a difference for all New Zealanders.

    Those with:

    • A great idea that could provide value to the New Zealand government, Westpac, and New Zealanders
    • A unique proposition
    • Commercial potential
    • Some or all of the above

    Those who are:

    • Established NZ businesses
    • Start-ups
    • Student teams
    • Government agencies
    • Private organisations who service government
    • New Zealand citizens and residents
  4. Criteria

    Each application is assessed on its merits, however there area some key criteria you need to meet to be considered:

    • Clear articulation of your proposition's value to the Government
    • Clear articulation of your proposition's value to Westpac
    • An identified Government Agency Sponsor who will own your idea's outcomes and/or provide a home for the proposition once it is delivered

    Additional points we factor into consideration:

    'Does the proposition'...

    • Develop and deploy solutions which are extensible and flexible?
    • Consider the needs of multiple government agencies as part of the design to ensure broader application and validation?
    • Leverage existing platforms, capabilities, and assets to ensure that investment and capability are shared?
    • Help with better decision making?
    • Take an investment approach?
    • Consider the total lifetime cost and value/impact of innovation?
    • Address the root cause?
    • Take an innovative approach to problem solving?
    • Consider the customer experience?
    • Include standard technologies? (rather than highly proprietary)
    • Build working examples: learn, design, develop, and validate durable innovation through practical experience of trial and error?
    • Accept the possibility of failure?
    • Move as quickly as possible to working examples in order to test theories and concepts with real people, in the real world?
  5. Creating Value

    The projects we fund aim to create value in the following areas:

    For the New Zealand Government

    • Creating economic, social, environmental and/or political impact
    • Take an all-of-government approach
    • Delivers services digitally by default
    • Introduces new services and design that make it surprisingly good to interact with the New Zealand government 


    • Value to our customers
    • Value to our brand and reputation
    • Value generated via new opportunities or intellectual property

    The Fund

    • A return on investment to the Fund
  6. What's Up For Grabs?

    The funding pool is usually up to $300,000 + GST but will be confirmed for each intake. The full amount may be granted to one grand idea, or split between multiple ideas from multiple candidates based on their relative value and merits. Funding may be granted to ideas at all different stages of the innovation lifecycle.

    For ideas that pass through the initial assessment gate, we’ll work closely with you to help you further develop your thinking to bring your idea to life.

    If you’re not quite sure how your idea might fit into a funding round, please get in touch!

  7. Why Apply?

    What you receive

    • Help bringing your idea to life
    • Access to our network of experts
    • A critical review of your idea by industry experts

    What we receive in return

    • The challenge of helping you bring your idea to life
    • Recognition/realisation of the value created from your proposition
    • A case study on our website to document and showcase success stories
  8. The Process

    Each intake takes approximately 10 weeks from the submission deadline to the final decision. Here is how the process works:

    Application deadline

    Applications must be received by midday NZT of the deadline date. Applications received after this time will only be accepted if you have agreement in writing from the Innovation Fund prior to the deadline time and date.

    Applications Assessed

    Applications are assessed by an assessment panel. Only successful candidates will proceed to the next stage. If you are successful, you will be assigned a liaison person to help guide you through the remainder of the process.

    Gate 1

    Shortlisted candidates who progress to the next round are announced

    Develop Final Proposal and Presentation

    With guidance from your liaison, you will develop your final proposal in the form of a document called an Investment Proposal and a verbal and/or visual presentation:

    The Investment Proposal is a more detailed explanation of your idea and covers information such as: what's the crucial problem you're trying to solve, what are you planning to do, how are you planning to do it, what does success look like, and what are the deliverables, timing, and financials.

    The verbal/visual presentation can take any form you like, but will be time-boxed to 10 minutes.

    Final Proposal Submission Deadline

    Your final proposal document must be received by midday NZT of the deadline date. This is to allow the assessment panel enough time for pre-reading before your presentation. It's important to ensure your information is clearly articulated and consise to help with speed of decision making and quality discussion.

    Gate 2

    Present to the Panel

    Final presentations are held at the main Westpac office in Wellington, but Skype capabilities are available if necessary.

    Final decisions announced

    Decisions are made by the assessment panel following all candidates' final presentations. The Innovation Fund team will contact you to let you know of the outcome.  Good luck!

    What to expect next

    For successful candidates, the Innovation Fund team will work with you through the paperwork to release the funds. This process takes approximately 4 weeks but may take longer for complex pieces of work. After the funds have been released there will be regular touch points with the Innovation Fund and your liaison will be kept in the loop with progress and help where required. At the end of your project, a case study will be published on the Innovation Fund website, and you will be added to the alumni.

  9. Governance

    The Innovation Fund has two governing bodies: the Working Group and the Steering Committee. The Working Group members are assigned to candidates as liaisons to help them navigate the process, and the Steering Committee govern the fund and make up the assessment panel.


    Sara Williams, Tertiary Education Commission
    Melvin Worth, IRD
    Libby Day, NZTE
    Garreth Morgan, Westpac
    Paul Hodgson, Westpac
    Dan Symons, Westpac
    Navin Bhat, Westpac

    Assessment Panel

    Ingrid van Elst, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment
    Bruce Simpson, Ministry of Social Development
    Johanna Day, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment
    Joel McIntosh, Westpac
    Brent Chalmers, Westpac
    Chris Durney, Westpac

    The Innovation Fund Team

    Simon Rogerson, Director and Chair of the Working Group
    Helen McLeay, Delivery Manager

  10. FAQs

    How much can I ask for?
    We will provide guidance of the funding available for each intake. You may request more (or less) than the intake budget, however the amount awarded to successful candidates is at the discretion of the Assessment Panel.
    Can I submit more than one idea?
    Yes! There is no limit to the number of entries you can submit.
    If my idea fits more than one intake focus area, do I submit one application or two?
    You should submit one application and clearly articulate the benefit/s or problems your proposition addresses for each area.
    If I/we are receiving funding from another source, am I/we eligible to enter an intake?
    If I include a video with my submission, will it be considered?
    Yes. But keep it concise!
    Will the Innovation Fund take a percentage stake in my idea?
    No, not generally. In fact, we will help you look at ways to help you protect your intellectual property.
    What methodology is used to deliver innovation?
    We do not enforce a particular method, but we have a preference for agile practices.
    How does Westpac get a return on investment?
    The funds framework allows for a wide range of approaches to share risk and return between Government, Westpac, and other third parties. Options to provide a return for Westpac could include: productisation of a solution (i.e. directly generates a revenue stream), intellectual property sharing, licencing, risk reduction, access to new markets, brand enhancement, etc.
    Who is eligible to apply to the fund?
    You must be a New Zealand Citizen or Permanent Resident, or a New Zealand company to be eligible to apply for the fund.
  11. Terms & conditions