PGF supports artificial intelligence and high end food development in Top of the South

Published: Aug 29, 2019 · Updated: Dec 1, 2020

Tagged with:

  • News and announcements
  • Top of the South/Te Tau Ihu

The Top of the South will benefit from Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) support for initiatives that include the establishment of an Artificial Intelligence Institute and a Food Factory for start-up food producers.

The investments totalling over $4.5 million were announced late last week in Nelson:

  • Nelson Artificial Intelligence Institute Limited (NAII), $3.4 million loan
  • The Food Factory (Picot Productions Ltd), $778,000
  • Economic development project delivery (Nelson District Council and Marlborough District Council), $400,000

Artificial Intelligence is on the cusp of a global revolution and the PGF recognises the economic and social opportunities the Artificial Intelligence Institute will bring to the Top of the South region and New Zealand as a whole.

NAII will focus initially on using artificial intelligence in the aquaculture industry in a region where 70 per cent of the country’s aquaculture industry is located and where untapped potential remains.

The term ‘artificial intelligence’ refers to the use of mathematical tools that enable discoveries and decisions to be made quickly and easily when there are large datasets that are impossible to manually analyse.

The AI proposal is a mix of commercial activity, with a strong education focus involving the Nelson-Marlborough Institute of Technology, and over time, the NAII will expand into different sectors and across the country.

The PGF is also supporting the construction of the Food Factory, an initiative spearheaded by Picot Productions Ltd, which produces Pic’s Peanut Butter. The Food Factory will provide start up food companies with a collaborative environment to develop new food products.

The finished factory will have a series of enclosed, fully equipped, commercial kitchens to enable aspiring food and beverage entrepreneurs to test their product’s concept, potential scalability and marketing in a supported environment. Advice and support will also be on hand, along with market opportunities and exposure to visitors and the tourist market.

The PGF will also provide $400,000 funding over two years to help grow the region’s other planned economic development projects. This funding is consistent with the PGF’s commitment to support regions in the country with their regional economic development capability.