Strong R&D gives Gisborne company an advantage

Thursday 3 April 2008, 3:32PM
By Pete Hodgson


World-class technology and research capability is helping a Gisborne company build up an international reputation in the field of composite materials, Economic Development Minister Pete Hodgson said today during a visit to the company.

Pultron Composites has developed innovative processing technologies that turn pieces of fibre into structural material stronger and lighter than steel. The government has supported its research and is also helping the company gain a foothold in overseas markets.

“Since 1998, the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology has made a significant investment of $1.8 million, matching the company dollar for dollar on specific targeted research projects in addition to Pultron’s ongoing extensive research and development programme.

“New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE), meanwhile, has helped the company explore sales opportunities for its novel products overseas and to set up an office in Dubai – so far NZTE has assisted with more than $150,000 to the company for this purpose.

“This sort of funding has been backed up by practical support from these agencies to help the company develop its capability and cope with growth. For example, Foundation programmes have helped Pultron attract PhD scientists and recently assisted the chief executive to take part in a United States development course for entrepreneurs.

“It is great to see a company in regional New Zealand succeeding at both research and development and at exporting. We need more businesses to similarly invest in their technical capabilities and to start operating internationally if we are to grow our economy and retain our standard of living.

“I congratulate Pultron on its hard work and persistence to make things happen and look forward to seeing its international profile continue to grow.”

The government’s investment in Pultron is just part of its contribution to the Gisborne region in general, with more than $1.4 million worth of funding been approved to companies in the region. Another $2 million has been used to implement the successful Tairawhiti Major Regional Initiative – which is helping Maori incorporations and regional exporters increase the productivity of the region’s land and build export markets on the back of that.