Lower Hutt is flying the flag for kiwi hardware startups with the opening of a new hardware-focused space.

Powered by the Hutt City Council and delivered by Creative HQ, 1st Assembly has been established to support and strengthen the region's thriving hardware industry and build upon the momentum created by NZ's first ever product focused business accelerator, Lightning Lab Manufacturing, operating out of the same address in Late 2015.

"Lightning Lab Manufacturing was hugely successful in applying concentrated support to launch seven exciting hardware startups. We are excited to keep building that momentum with Hutt City Council through 1st Assembly, and look forward to working with the Hutt startup/entrepreneur community to create a space that taps into NZ's hardware development potential" says Creative HQ CEO Stefan Korn.

We had the privilege of running an Accelerator Fundamentals workshop for the Lightning Lab Manufacturing cohort in the first week of their programme, and Velox Innovation Marketing Lead Elyse Wyatt worked in the accelerator as the Digital/Marketing Coordinator. We are very excited to see the continuation of the space as a dedicated hardware facility, and are looking forward to regularly visiting.

1st Assembly offers startups an affordable, flexible work environment with teaching, support and community interaction designed to strengthen networks, build resilience and tap into growth potential. Lower Hutt also has a strong manufacturing heritage, and Callaghan Innovation's Gracefield Innovation Quarter is close by.

Residents have access to:

  • Desk space 
  • Workbenches (with a growing toolkit, 3D printers and soldering facilities for experimenting with and developing prototypes)
  • Meeting rooms
  • Fast internet & printing etc

The space can also actively coach ventures through open access to Creative HQ's longstanding growth programmes, including 'Startup Garage' sessions for businesses and entrepreneurs.

The next Startup Garage event is to be held tomorrow, Thursday 31st March, with 1st Assembly resident and founder of UBCO telling the story behind the ground-breaking electric utility bikes they are now introducing to the global market. 

"Turning great hardware ideas into a successful product is no walk in the park - prototyping and development takes serious time and commitment, so you need flexible space and resources to build, test and experiment, and access to a wide and supportive network" says UBCO Founder Daryl Neal.

"Just like with any tech startup, getting solid business support is vital - strong governance, strategy and marketing will be critical for your growth. If you crack these problems there are global opportunities for NZ hardware. So it's great to be involved and see this initiative unfolding."


GET IN TOUCH - are you a hardware startup working on your latest prototype? Or need a place to host your next community event? Get in touch with 1st Assembly Manager Tom Rabone at tom@1-A.co.nz, or visit www.1-a.co.nz.


*Copy courtesy of Nicola Mitchell from Creative HQ