Spark is on a nationwide search to find New Zealand’s most innovative 5G ideas. We’re committed to supporting leading-edge Kiwi businesses in bringing these solutions to life through the 5G Starter Fund.

A minimum requirement to enter is a validated proof of concept, this could be on paper or a working prototype. Over the four month program you will have support from the Spark 5G team, time in our 5G Co-Lab and funding to develop your idea.    

The aim of the 5G Starter Fund is to advance your idea or prototype so you can demonstrate it as an MVP by the end of the program. We understand that businesses will be at different levels with their products and the program is flexible to be tailored accordingly.  

 

Winning ideas will respond to one or more of these categories:

Next Gen Health


5G-enabled solutions that enable a step forward for the health and wellness of all New Zealanders.

See more

Good for New Zealand


5G-enabled solutions that improve the lives of Kiwis or build a more sustainable New Zealand.

See more

Industry Disruptors


5G-enabled technology that will fundamentally change the way we live, work and play.

Find out how

Immersive Experiences


5G-enabled technology that offers a new sensory, educational or entertainment experience.

Get inspiration

Latest news:

Nokia 5G webinar


Keynote speaker Marcus Weldon, CTO of Nokia and President of Nokia Bell Labs, inspired viewers with business opportunities using 5G. It's now available to watch at your leisure.

Watch now

Watch Verizon 5G webinar


We kicked off our first webinar with Joshua Ness, Senior Manager at Verizon 5G Lab New York. Watch it now for his world-leading insights on applying 5G technology.

Watch now

Meet the judges


We've announced the five panelists who will be selecting the winners of the 5G Starter Fund. The winning businesses will share in a total of $625k in funding to develop their 5G idea.

See details

Tools and resources:

5G for you


5G has the potential to open up a world of new experiences that could change how we live, work, and play. Multiple streams, gaming revolutionised, immersive experiences.

Read more

5G for business


We work with innovative New Zealand businesses to help them imagine the potential of what 5G will offer. Here are some exciting stories and journeys that we have been on.

See articles

Learn more about 5G


With super-fast downloads, minimal latency, massive connectivity and outstanding reliability, 5G will bring huge possibilities. Find out more about this game changing technology.

Learn more

5G Starter Fund Entry Kit

The 5G Starter Fund Entry Kit includes application questions and all the requirements you'll need to help you get started.

Download now

Launch & Announcement


8th March

Applications open


15th March to 28th June

Finalists Announced


27th July

Judging Starts


26th August

Winners Announced


4th September

Funding and the 5G Co-Lab testing


September to October

Winners fly to New York


October

Frequently asked questions

 

The application period will be open from 5pm, 27 May to 16 August 2020.

If you would like more information about the fund, processes and application questions you can download the Entry Kit

For further details on the fund, please see our terms and conditions

At Spark we believe in the power of innovation and technology to solve our country’s greatest challenges. We’re committed to helping businesses harness the true potential of 5G to move our country forward.

This is a continuation of the work we’ve been doing with 5G and New Zealand businesses since we opened the Spark 5G Lab in November 2018.

We’ve supported NZ businesses to explore 5G through our Spark 5G Co Lab, and now we’re putting up funding to help four businesses explore the possibilities of 5G, through our 5G Starter Fund.

We put the Spark 5G Starter Fund on hold while New Zealand negotiated the uncertainties of the Covid-19 crisis. Now we’ve achieved Level 2 and are on a path to recovery we’ve opened up applications. We see digital innovation is more critical than ever.

With our world having changed so much we have re-shaped the fund, and made some changes to the prizes. We have added a new category ‘Next Gen Health’, as health and wellness is such a big focus and critical service we wanted to add this category to drive innovation in this area.
 
With our borders been completely shut and international travel being off the cards for the foreseeable future, we decided to remove the trip to New York prize. We have replaced it with another cash prize of $125K. Making the total now $625K - $250K 1st prize and 3 x 2nd prize of $125K.

You can find lots of interesting articles on our website . 5G has five key properties that have the potential to transform business and everyday life. Read about how it's different

Spark will award up to four businesses a share of $625k in funding to advance their 5G idea or prototype.

1st prize - $250k for winning business 3 x 3rd prize - $125k per business.

The four winners can also test their prototype in our 5G Co-Lab space with access to mentoring and support throughout the program.

Learn more about 5G Starter Fund prizes

Spark is looking to fund businesses building new 5G enabled technology in the following categories:

Next Gen Health: 5G enabled technologies that enable a step forward for the health of all New Zealanders. Read more

Good for New Zealand: caters to 5G-enabled solutions that improve the lives of Kiwis or build a more sustainable New Zealand. Read the article

Industry Disruptors: focuses on 5G-enabled technologies that will fundamentally change the way we live or work. Check it out

Immersive Experiences: captures 5G-enabled technology that offers new sensory experiences, for a vast number of use cases. Get inspired

A minimum requirement to enter is a validated proof of concept, this could be on paper or working prototype. Over the four month programme you will have support from the Spark 5G team, time in our 5G Co-Lab space and funding to develop your idea.

The aim of the 5G Starter Fund is to advance your idea or prototype so you can demonstrate it as an MVP by the end of the program. We understand that businesses will be at different levels with their products and the program is flexible to tailor accordingly.

The Spark 5G Starter Fund is open to New Zealand registered businesses, including registered charities, with 1 to 100 employees. All applicants must be 18 years old or over.

For further details on the fund, please see our terms and conditions

We will announce our judging panel during the application period.  

Round One: Spark Panel – if you are a shortlisted applicant you will be required to:

  • Prepare a video giving an overview of your product, the problem it solves, why 5G will enhance it and a brief introduction about your business. Video must be no more than three minutes.
  • You will then need to take part in a VC call with the Spark panel where you will be interviewed. You should expect business, product and tech questions. Full details will be given to shortlisted businesses.

Round 2 – Finals round

  • Up to eight finalists will be required to pitch in person to our panel  during week commencing Monday 19 October, in Auckland. Details will be provided on this day if you are a finalist. There will also be a day bootcamp prior to finals round, to help you prepare.

For further details on the fund, please see our terms and conditions

The 5G Starter Fund is a nationwide search, we will take submissions from anywhere in New Zealand.

If you are announced as a finalist, you may be required to travel to Auckland in October and pitch your 5G idea to the judging panel. Please ensure you check the dates of travel required in our terms and conditions

See the full terms and conditions

If you can’t find the answer from our downloadable Entry Kit,  please contact 5gstarterfund@spark.co.nz, we are here to help. Download Entry Kit

Once you have submitted your application, Spark will send a confirmation email. If you are shortlisted you will be told by 1 September and finalists will be announced by 18 September.

  • Application Period: 27 May, 5pm – 16 August
  • Finalists Announced: 16 September
  • Finalist Bootcamp: 23 September
  • Judging Day: October: w/c 19 October
  • Winners Announced: w/c 26 October
  • Funding & Co-Lab testing: November - March