Ideas into business and industry

Ideas into business and industry
Dr Bevan Catley, Dr Dianne Gardner and Professor Tim Bentley of the Healthy Work Group carried out groundbreaking research on workplace bullying and workplace violence. The group is based in the School of Management on the Albany campus but involves researchers from across the University, including the School of Psychology.

Small and medium-sized businesses are the lifeblood of New Zealand. Businesses employing 100 people or fewer account for 99.4 per cent of all enterprises in this country. You might say entrepreneurship is in our DNA.

Massey has been a leader in this realm for more than 25 years through the teaching, research and knowledge transfer of its New Zealand Centre for Small and Medium Enterprise Research. It is the only New Zealand university to offer an undergraduate degree with a major in entrepreneurship and small business. 

Embedding an entrepreneurial and innovational ethos into all levels of learning goes beyond formal teaching of entrepreneurship. Students and staff across all academic disciplines are encouraged to convert knowledge and ideas into successful enterprises. This yields triumphs like the rechargeable zinc battery set to revolutionise the global battery industry, or a novel DNA ligase technology with the potential to improve high performance molecular biology applications, which has been licensed for manufacture and sale worldwide by a US life sciences company.

Established in 2001, the ecentre helps entrepreneurs transform their ideas into successful businesses serving global markets. It engages mentors and experts from the business community and from Massey to help fledgling companies take off. The ecentre and the Bio Commerce Centre (BCC), its counterpart in Palmerston North, provide commercialization expertise to help transfer research outputs into products and services for industry.

However, the ultimate challenge for business today is to succeed and grow while embracing principles of environmental, social and economic sustainability. The Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Research group helps the business sector understand the importance of CSR, as it increasingly defines and drives successful modern business models. This multidisciplinary group of academics channels its business ethics, social enterprise and sustainability research into private and public sectors in New Zealand, and it progresses Massey’s broader sustainability theme through conferences and symposia.

Elsewhere, Massey continues to find new ways to share knowledge and academic expertise through commercial ventures. It contributes to improvements in health and safety on a global scale, such as a major contract with the World Bank to provide epidemiology and biosecurity training for veterinarians and public health workers in Asia. The training will build capacity in the region that will improve recognition and response to epidemic outbreaks. It is the first of four similar contracts being negotiated with the World Bank.

Massey is keen to ‘walk the talk’ in terms of leadership in business and economic development at home too. Its inaugural Finance 2010 event, designed as a New Year preview by the Minister of Finance, is now a set piece in the nation’s economic forecasting calendar for business networking.