The Ākina Foundation has helped prepare a report to reflect on the impact the Westpac NZ Government Innovation Fund has had in order to build upon the lessons we have learnt over the last seven years.
Download the report or view the key findings and highlights from Ākina's report below.
What we found
94% of surveyed funded partners said they have been able to achieve more positive social, environmental and/or economic impact because of WGIF support.
have progressed further than they would have without WGIF support
made progress towards validating their idea
saw an increase in customer numbers
saw an increase in end users
explored and discounted an idea
attracted further funding/ investment
are already having positive impact in Aotearoa New Zealand
people’s (predominantly Māori and Pacific) pathways to thriving futures impacted by 2 investments
people’s environmental footprint already impacted by just 1 investment
of people’s health outcomes already impacted by just 1 investment
WGIF holds a distinctive position in the innovation ecosystem.
It plays a crucial role in Aotearoa New Zealand's innovation ecosystem by providing early-stage funding and support to empower innovators to bring their ideas to life. Many initiatives at the idea stage face challenges in securing funding due to the lack of quick returns and limited opportunities for extensive due diligence. With an understanding that early-stage ventures are uncertain and carry risk, WGIF's risk management approach includes a risk appetite for failure, stress testing proposals, partnering with innovators, adopting a portfolio investment strategy, and conducting moderated and staged due diligence.
By offering timely support, WGIF enables innovators to accelerate their growth, demonstrate the viability of their ideas and business models and establish a strong foundation for future success. The impact of WGIF's funding and support is evident in the many success stories of its funded partners, including attracting investment, growing customer numbers and revenue, and achieving significant social and environmental impact.
WGIF is a flexible and collaborative funder, reflective of the needs of its funded partners and the nature of innovation.
WGIF adopts an efficient and decisive funding approach, catering to the fast-paced nature of start-ups. Diverging from conventional funding approaches, WGIF adopts a more relational approach, minimising the necessity for overly intricate and high compliance project planning. WGIF provides expert coaching in the proposal development phase, and funded partners appreciate the trust-based approach that makes them feel heard and supported. WGIF provides innovators with the space and confidence to take risks and pivot when necessary, which is crucial in the initial stages of innovation.
WGIF’s impact is established through the impact of others.
WGIF invests in community, government, and business innovators, maximising impact by reducing barriers to innovation. Funding contracts are outcomes focused and offer flexibility in how milestones are achieved, unlike traditional service contracts. This allows community innovators to undertake creative problem-solving, develop tech platforms, fund expertise and resources, and harness knowledge of their community to develop impactful initiatives. The funding allows Government innovators to step outside bureaucracy, to leverage knowledge of the government, test ideas quickly, explore cross-agency solutions, and deliver programs that prioritise government goals. Business innovators can focus on social and environmental change, apply innovation, technology and systems thinking, and grow financially sustainable models that fund impact on an ongoing basis.
WGIF's support has allowed these innovators to grow faster, validate their ideas, and quickly discontinue aspects that aren't viable. As a result, funded partners have reported successes such as attracting investment, growing customer numbers and revenue, and being in a stronger position to develop and achieve significant impact.