Hawke’s Bay Foundation gains backing from global tech company

Hawke’s Bay Foundation is thrilled to welcome global technology company, Fingermark, onboard as their major corporate sponsor.

The sponsorship is solely dedicated to administration costs and makes Fingermark one of Hawke’s Bay Foundation’s largest sponsors to date.

Hawke’s Bay Foundation Development Manager, Amy Bowkett says with Fingermark’s support, her team can focus more on the task at hand rather than having to fundraise for operational costs.

“As a Community Foundation we always “run on the smell of an oily rag”, but overhead costs are inevitable,” Amy says.

“Thanks to Luke and the team at Fingermark, we will have more time to build up the Foundation’s funds to ensure support for Hawke’s Bay charities forever.”

Established in Auckland by Luke Irving in 2005, Fingermark provides innovative digital customer service solutions utilising artificial intelligence (AI) for the hospitality, retail and mining industries.

Luke and his team are behind the high-tech digital menu boards and customer kiosks used at some of the most popular fast-food outlets around the world.

Based in Hawke’s Bay since 2016, Luke was looking to support an organisation with the same mission and values as his own business.

“We wanted to align Fingermark and our story with another great story and one that shares a philosophy about empowering people and giving opportunities to those who may not have the same advantages, but would certainly have no less talent,” Luke says.

“I’ve been hearing a lot about what a great organisation Hawke’s Bay Foundation is and what they’re doing for the region, so it felt right to support it.”

Luke established Fingermark in Auckland, but when it reached a “glass ceiling” in 2016, he and partner, Emma, decided it was time to either move to provincial New Zealand or take their business offshore. With a list of criteria for their new hometown, which included education, recreational activities and climate, Hawke’s Bay came out on top.

“Once we had decided to move to Hawke’s Bay, I chartered a plane down here with our staff and families to show them where we were going to be living, and potentially an area where we could move the business to. We took them to the likes of Waimarama, Te Mata Peak and a few vineyards.

“Two weeks later I got approached by the whole team for a meeting and I thought they were all going to quit – but actually they said they were coming with us! So then I had to help move 10 families into the region. It was very cool and Hawke’s Bay has been very welcoming to us.”

With his roots now firmly planted in Hawke’s Bay and with the backing of 35 staff in Hawke’s Bay and another 40-odd staff globally in offices in Brazil, Dubai, India and the US, Luke’s mission is to push the regions of New Zealand and see how businesses can re-distribute wealth and create jobs in non-traditional industries within the provinces.

“We’ve succeeded so far and hopefully now we’re setting the scene for other technology and non-traditional businesses to move down here, create jobs and inspire locals and local kids – who may be grant recipients from Hawke’s Bay Foundation – and show them that they can one day achieve what we’ve done.”