Local businessman appointed to lead cluster development

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Cluster development aims to bring together similar businesses to identify opportunities to collaborate.

Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) has appointed local business leader Kevin Sharpe, to lead the development of a hospitality/tourism technology cluster in the district. 

Cluster development aims to bring together similar businesses to identify opportunities to collaborate. 

QLDC Economic Development Manager Peter Harris said cluster development will support technology businesses, and potentially boost the productivity of the tourism and hospitality industry.

“Rather than all individually trying to overcome the same issues, we want to support businesses to join forces. Essentially, turning competitors into collaborators.”  

Mr Harris said he was thrilled with the skills Mr Sharpe will bring to the role, including his experience as the former Executive Director of Wayfare.

“Cluster development is all about building trust amongst businesses, and Kevin’s contacts and experience will help this enormously,” Mr Harris said.

There are already some tourism-technology and hospitality-technology software companies in the district, including Magic Memories, Wherewolf, and First Table.

Research shows that economic diversification often comes from expertise built off the dominant industry, Mr Harris said.

“Over time entrepreneurs have picked up on challenges the tourism and hospitality industries face and have created software to solve them. They’ve gone from selling locally to selling to the world.”

Mr Sharpe said he was eager to make a positive impact. 

“Tech in this area offers us a chance to bottle up and sell our expertise in hosting people to the world. Not only that, but as local tourism and hospo businesses take up this tech they will streamline their business, making them more productive,” Mr Sharpe said.

Mat Weir, Chief Executive Officer of First Table, said he was looking forward to working with Mr Sharpe. 

“We are already collaborating in a small way with some other local software companies, but with Kevin on board, I think the potential to do more is really exciting.”

If you are looking to start up, scale up or set the bar higher, take a closer look at the Queenstown Lakes District.

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