Innovate Manawatu has announced its winners for 2012. Innovate Manawatu was created in 2011 by the BCC, a Palmerston North based business that specialises in taking high technology ideas to market.
The competition had 350 total entries, with 163 stage two entries being processed. Entries were accepted over 61 days (1 March to 30 April).
On 18 May, Innovate Manawatu selected its Top 10 who were each given $1,000 as well as enrolled in the BCC's ten week Market Validation programme. This rigorous course saw two of the final ten drop out within the first three weeks.
The judging panel, comprised of Simon Barnett, Vicki Stewart, James Watts, Paul Yortt and Larry Ellison, all have substantial entrepreneurial backgrounds and run very successful businesses in New Zealand.
The judges heard pitches yesterday morning from the eight remaining finalists and over the course of five and a half hours, decided on the winners.
"This year's finalists were of a very, very high standard. Deciding on one winner presented us with a real challenge so the judges decided that they would give two judges commendations to entrants they saw as deserving of a special mention and encouragement. All the finalists showed real commitment to their business ideas, and to the demanding process that "Innovate" required them to complete. During the course of the mentoring programme, their ideas were refined and improved. The judges were excited to see not only their ideas develop, but the entrants grow in confidence. Watch out Manawatu...there is a whole bunch of new entrepreneurs hitting the streets!" said Simon Barnett, convenor of Judges.
Fred Ohlsson, Managing Director Business Banking at ANZ, Innovate Manawatu's Commercial Partner, says, "Congratulations to Peter, John and Charles, who have won over the judges with their ideas, enthusiasm and business potential to take out these awards amid a very strong field. Entrepreneurs and innovators like these are the future of business. ANZ is proud to support Innovate Manawatu and help start-up businesses turn great ideas into viable businesses. It was great to see a sharp rise in entries for this year's competition, demonstrating that innovation and entrepreneurship are alive and well in the Manawatu."
The winners of Innovate Manawatu for 2012 are -
Supreme Winner | $10,000 prize
Peter Vullings, V-Electric
Peter entered Innovate Manawatu with his prototype electric scooter which he made on a bet. The judges were impressed by his design sense and proposed path forward for his company. He's changed direction several times through the course of the competition thanks to customer feedback, originally targeting Europeans urban professionals and now heading towards the premium market using innovative channels to find his customers. Peter has developed an incredibly polished pitch for his company and concept through the process and already has several customers lined up for his stylish scooters.
Inventors Prize | Skyline Shed, sponsored by Skyline
John Howarth, Custom Foot Controls
John is a motorcycle enthusiast who is studying a PhD in Artificial Intelligence. John entered Innovate Manawatu with his idea for a business selling Custom Foot Control for motorcyclists which he creates using his homemade CNC machine. John has spent the Market Validation process building a business case around his products interacting with customers and building his channels to market. With a website up and running and pre-orders flowing in, John is racing his way towards a sustainable business.
Youth Award | $1,000 prize, sponsored by UCOL
Charles Allen, BT-DT Clothing
Charles is a Massey student working towards a Bachelor of Communications, which fits nicely in with his business Kiwified. Kiwified is an innovative idea for a business that combines the idea of tourist discounts with a t-shirt that allows you to tell the story of your travel. Charles has also taken huge steps forward over the last ten weeks including a name change, huge improvements around his business model, and real contact with his customer base. Kiwified is shortly beginning testing with tourist operations and beginning their expansion.
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