Kicking off with Kiwinet’s new Pre-accelerator programme, Rewa

29 April 2020 | Read time: 5 minutes

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REWA: ‘To be elevated high up’

SfTI is proud to be supporting, and participating in Rewa. The teams kick started in April 2020, during New Zealand’s COVID-19 Level 4 Lockdown. With seatbelts fastened, the six teams are ready to take their research to orbital levels.


About Rewa

The first of its kind in NZ, brought across the ditch from Australia to give NZ research teams with break through ideas, the opportunity to elevate their research. This is reflected in the word REWA, which is Te Reo Maōri for ‘To be elevated high up’. The teams will have access to experienced Trans-Tasman mentors, a chance to build their personal development, trail blaze research pathways, and make connections across the ditch and beyond.

The programme will run until June 2020 when select teams will pitch their ideas to international investors. 

Going virtual, nothing’s stopping us

In anticipation of the potential limitations caused by COVID-19, a decision was made in February 2020 by the Rewa Australian Facilitation team to completely redesign the programme for an online delivery. This started with a full four-day immersion workshop run on Zoom and Slack.

The first week of virtual delivery took place at the start of Level 4 COVID-19 lockdown. Despite, the pressure of lock-down, the teams and facilitators rocked it, and according to participant feedback it was complete success with no loss of engagement.

A photograph taken of the Rewa four-day immersion workshop run online in February 2020.

SfTI’s Commercialisation Development Manager, Enrico Tronchin says:

 “It’s been fantastic to see researchers connecting with industry in an extensive way, exploring customer needs, testing assumptions and finding out how industry actually works...”

SfTI whānau supporting Rewa

Three SfTI funded research teams made it into Rewa, with Enrico joining one of the SfTI teams to offer his expertise on validating the potential markets.

SfTI’s Capacity Development and Vision Mātauranga Advisor, Ryan Rangiwhetu, is also supporting Rewa participants by sharing his expertise in the Māori Economy and Te Reo Māori.

Ryan sums up the experience: “I was impressed at how well everyone connected despite the fact we were all in our own little worlds. I am pleased it was able to continue and maintain the momentum despite the limitations of COVID-19. I ran a session on creating and sharing your Pepeha and I think this was a great way to get people feeling connected in this time of physical distancing.” 

Rewa teams

Lab-in-a-Box: Developing an all-in-one machine to accelerate innovation in polymer-based materials and manufacturing R&D, to help bring about a circular economy. SfTI &  The University of Auckland & Massey University

Mātauranga Pītau Ira: Developing an aptamer-based sensing technology to detect harmful-algal-blooms (HAB) known for causing poisoning in humans and other mammals. SfTI & Victoria University of Wellington

HealthTech Access: Developing an LED-based sensing technology to develop a needleless prick-test for continuous measure of glucose levels for diabetics. SfTI & University of Canterbury

Deep Green: Green chemistry to create specialised lipids for use in nutraceutical and functional food manufacture.The New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research Limited

Docketier: A knowledge management software tool designed to efficiently capture institutional knowledge and provide context around decision-making. Victoria University of Wellington

Ambient Ammonia: A new production plant for the synthesis of ammonia, that is smaller, decentralised, and environmentally friendly.
Victoria University of Wellington

Hyperfarm: Has developed a user friendly computer based visualisation tool that promises to revolutionise the farm planning process. AgResearch New Zealand.

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