Two that spring to mind are IRL's "What's your problem New Zealand?" Competition, where companies from industry pitched a research problem to IRL in order to win $1 Million of research funding at IRL, and the Auckland University Business School "Entrepreneurs Challenge" which is funded by ex Auckland Business School graduate, Charles Bidwill, to the tune of around $3 Million.
The winner of the IRL "What's your problem New Zealand?" Competition was Resene paints, who came up with a proposal to develop paints from sustainable sources. Most of the ingredients in current paint products are derived from petroleum feedstocks, and so this research will help to break the long term dependance on such raw materials. Entries for the "Entrepreneurs Challenge" closed only last week, but are sure to produce some incredible ideas.
Competitions like these are a great way to not only solve problems, provide funding for start-up companies and teach new skills, but also to highlight the amazing talent we have in NZ in problem solving and developing high growth businesses. One can only wonder what things could be like if there was more money available so all the ideas could get funded! Then we may be well on the way to creating a knowledge-based economy!
Whats your problem?