FoodWaikato's open access spray dryer at Waikato Innovation Park is operating at capacity, helping companies using it for research and development to grow their export markets.
A recent survey of 34 tenant companies is said to have shown the respondents’ collective turnover is up 18% from one year ago. The park says 79% of firms surveyed reported some financial growth, averaging 33%.
Thirty-three of the 34 park companies who responded to the annual survey collectively reported gross turnover of $188 million. Last year it was $160 m.
“Eleven of our companies have turnover greater than $3 million – one more than reported reaching this level last year,” says the park chief executive, Stuart Gordon. “56% have turnover between $250,000 and $3 million, up from 48% last year. Only three of our companies have turnover of less than $250,000, which is an 8% drop from last year’s survey results.
“The companies… are doing well. Revenues are growing [generally]… with the same number or fewer staff.”
In January 2013, surveyed companies employed 1213 staff. Now they employ 1183 staff, 421 of them working at the park. 60% have fewer than 10 full time employees, down from 62% one year ago.
“Finding the right staff is difficult for many of our companies: 1:5 companies (21%) identify staff recruitment as a major challenge,” says Gordon.
While the Waikato Innovation Park companies are growing their revenues, slightly less of that turnover is reportedly coming from exports. Seventy-nine percent of the survey respondents are actively exporting, which is down slightly from 83% this same time last year.
“Of those companies exporting, the United States has gained ground as a trading destination. Fifteen percent of our exporters are doing business in the States, which is up from 8% last year,” says Gordon.
“Surprisingly, China now only represents 6% of our exporters’ total markets, which is down from 9% last year.”
Twenty-three percent of Innovation Park exporters trade with Australia, which has grown from 14% one year
ago. Europe has also grown from 19% to 25%.
“A delightful surprise in the results was that over 75% of respondents are actively engaged in research and development of new products or services. This is up significantly from 58% just one year ago,” says Gordon.