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Talent Unleashed – Startup City #5 Wellington

Coffees, legendary Hollywood scenes and a budding startup culture to boot?

In our latest Talent Unleashed series we bring you New Zealand’s capital Wellington, the backdrop to some of your favourite Hollywood blockbusters. Lord of the Rings or King Kong ring a bell?

For a small city, Wellington has a lot going for it. Unsurpassed natural beauty, great coffee, craft beer and it’s green and clean. It’s also a part one of the most favourable economies in the world for business. It’s ranked third on the Economic Freedom Index, first as the most favourable city to start a business in and has a low cost of living. No wonder it has been voted the world’s most liveable city.

Views of Wellington City

From Hollywood to Silicon Valley

On a broader scale, New Zealand is an agricultural, manufacturing and tourism economy. Wellington however has enjoyed its economic successes through Hollywood and its unique tourism landscape. Peter Jackson put the city on the map through hit films like the Lord of the Rings trilogy and King Kong. James Cameron has done the same with the hugely successful Avatar movie.

The benefit of this for Wellington has been the spill on effect on the startup industry. Companies such as Weta Digital (a Peter Jackson initiative), 8i and Green Button have come about because of the strong ties to film, the arts and the digital world. They’ve helped gauge interest and brought in investment from the likes of Ashton Kutcher and Sequoia India.

Wellington, New Zealand - September 3, 2014: New Zealand - Unidentified asian woman tourist look at the map to check the bus route while waiting for the bus on in Wellington, New Zealand. Wellington is the capital of New Zealand.

Street of Wellington city

Wellington is not relying on the film industry though as it can be sporadic and there is a lot more to gain by widening its focus to include the tech and startup industry. Successes from businesses like Xero and Trade Me have encouraged many others to start their own ventures and spurred the growth of a grassroots startup community. Creative HQ incubator, Lightning Lab accelerator, Built In Wellington news aggregator and BizDojo working space are the engines behind this growth. BizDojo has in fact partnered with Talent International to assist startups navigate the recruitment process and to utilise the skills of Talent advisors in this function.

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BizDojo working space in Wellington

Complementing this is the support of local government and international attention. The Wellington Works campaign has been an initiative by the city council to encourage Australian tech entrepreneurs to relocate to Wellington to drive its startup economy and address its talent gap. It has also gained the interest of China with the Chengdu government partnering with the city to take advantage of the local ecosystem.

The Future Looks Green

This quaint city has all the right characteristics as a startup hub. It’s ability to market this well to the rest of the world to draw in international attention and talent will determine its ability to fully exploit all the great things it has going for it.

Famous cables in Wellington

Fun Facts

  • Wellington is the southernmost capital of the world.
  • On a per person basis, the city rivals NY for the number of cafes and restaurants it has. 400 is a lot for a small city so you can rest assured you will be well fed and caffeinated!
  • Flat-white coffee – it was invented in Sydney Australia but perfected in Wellington. It is the city’s official beverage of choice.
  • It replaced Auckland as the capital in 1865 – no hard feelings we hope.
  • It’s beautiful and windy, windy, windy!
  • NZ is a rugby obsessed nation. Wellington does its bit on the international stage with the Wellington Hurricanes who won the Super Rugby Championships in 2015.