It’s been shown to me repeatedly that New Zealand is full of edgy, creative, radical, flexible, ideas people. Our future depends on our ability to educate, inspire and export these ideas and help them grow and take on the world. Entrepreneurs will lead economic growth during these tough times.

At the University of Auckland Business School, the Entrepreneurs’ Challenge has announced three winners from 100 entries across a phenomenal range of visionary businesses utilizing physics, virtual reality, earth sciences, broadband, taste and touch, water, New Zealand tourism. I spoke at the awards on Friday evening as an Honorary Professor of the Business School.

The Challenge, made possible by a $3m founding donation by UK-based New Zealand industrialist and investor Charles Bidwell, is based on the power of enterprise, innovation and tenacity. It encourages New Zealand businesses with an energy and drive for international expansion, by providing them with growth funding, mentoring and well-deserved kudos. It’s a really positive approach, and Derek Lockwood and his Saatchi & Saatchi Design Worldwide team in Auckland are behind the idea as one of the Challenge’s partner organisations.

The awards ceremony was last Friday where the winners were announced:

  • coffee roasters Allpress Espresso who will use awarded funds to expand into the UK market with a flagship roastery and espresso bar in London;
  • smart water meter technology developers Outpost Central who have had boosted sales by demand from water-deficient Australia and plan to grow into a $100m business, using funding to hire a chief operating officer; and
  • hot water heating control technology company Senztek who will put funding into R&D and marketing new products for Europe.

Successful entrepreneurs have grit, guts, and genius. Three cheers for the 100 ideas presented to the University of Auckland Business School’s Entrepreneurs’ Challenge.

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Kevin Roberts

Kevin Roberts is founder of Red Rose Consulting; business leader and educator; author and speaker; adviser on marketing, creative thinking and leadership.


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