Well known technologist David Downs shares his story helping kiwi tech thrive overseas, his successful battle with terminal cancer, and his current work helping the AgriTech sector flourish
David Downs leads the NZ Governments Agritech taskforce, helping to design and implement the Industry Transformation Plan for the Agritech sector, working for MBIE.
Most recently, David was a General Manager at New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE), working with the Technology sector to help fast growing tech companies grow internationally, and leading a cross-government project for the Agritech sector. David has held various roles at NZTE, in the Services, Customer and Corporate Services teams.
David previously spent 13 years at Microsoft, in New Zealand and as regional director for South East Asia, and he has set up and run successful businesses of his own. David is a published author on New Zealand Innovation, with two highly successful books – No.8 Re-wired, and No.8 Recharged.
A chartered member of Institute of Directors, David is on a number of boards including MOTAT, Augusto Group and Venture Taranaki, and the executive advisory committee for Department of Internal Affairs (DIA). He is chair of the Well Foundation, the charity of the Waitematā DHB, and of the Kupe Scholarship for Auckland University. He acts as a trustee for the Hi-Tech Trust, and the Young Enterprise Trust.
He’s an ex-comedian, TV and Radio actor, semi-finalist for New Zealander of the Year, and a genetically modified organism who documented his battle with cancer in the book A Mild Touch of the Cancer. David is a popular MC and speaker, and he regularly presents and gives talks on his cancer journey and on the power of positive thinking and optimism.
At the beginning of the Covid-19 lockdown, David co-founded sosbusiness.nz a not-for-profit initiative to help bars, cafes and other small businesses sell vouchers. It quickly became a huge hit and to date has sold over $2 million in vouchers for over 2500 small businesses. All the money goes to the businesses.