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Taking Orbica into orbit

12 August 2019

From starting out in 2017 as a one-man-band in a Christchurch co-working space, to supplying three of Germany’s largest businesses in 2019 – you could say that growth has come thick and fast for Orbica.

Speaking to founder and CEO Kurt Janssen, in Orbica’s central city HQ, it is clear this growth was achieved not only due to smart solutions and scalable products, but also through a great deal of planning, hard work and support.

Orbica specialises in using location-based, or ‘geospatial’ data to create solutions and products that help people make sense of information.

So how does a small company like Orbica manage the rapid growth that sees them winning international contracts for some of the world’s largest companies?

From Orbica’s early days, Kurt has made use of the Regional Business Partner Network. The network is funded by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and Callaghan Innovation, and is made up of 14 regional organisations around the country. Their specialist Growth Advisors support fast-growing businesses with advice, co-funded capability building and mentoring services.

In Canterbury, the programme is administered through a joint venture between ChristchurchNZ, and the Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce (The Chamber), with support from regional agencies.

Kurt noted the type of support Orbica received had changed as the business grew.

“At the beginning, the focus was on developing the business model and identifying how it could grow. Once we had that sorted, the focus moved to building the right team with the right skills,” said Kurt.

Most recently, Orbica used the expertise of a business mentor to help build the team dynamic and create leaders within the business.

ChristchurchNZ General Manager Innovation & Business Growth Richard Sandford said Orbica is a great example of the types of businesses that take up the programme.


“Annually, around 675 businesses in Canterbury take up support under the programme. It’s businesses like Orbica who really demonstrate the benefits – getting that tailored, specialist support at the right time is invaluable and can lead to impressive results,” said Sandford.

The Chamber Chief Executive Leeann Watson said the partnership provided local businesses with a single pathway to access valuable advice, support, funding and expertise.

“In Canterbury, we’ve built a strong reputation of helping businesses to innovate and achieve their goals. I would encourage businesses who have growth aspirations to get in touch to discuss how we can help; we’ve got a wealth of knowledge in the programme just waiting to be tapped into.”

Or, as Kurt put it, “It’s all been done before, why do I have to go through it all again? We make enough mistakes of our own – why not learn from what others have been through?”

To find out more visit https://www.regionalbusinesspartners.co.nz/