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Record prize pool on offer to Waikato entrepreneurs

7 February 2014

Record prize pool on offer to Waikato entrepreneurs

Waikato’s entrepreneurship hub, SODA Inc., has announced a record prize pool on offer to entrepreneurs who are able to build a business in 48 hours.

The Innes48 Hour Business Startup Competition, organised by SODA and hosted by Wintec, will take place on 2-4 May. Competition entrants team-up to design and launch a start-up business within just two days.

A record $60,000 is being raised for the popular competition, much of which will be provided as prizes and equity contribution toward winners’ business development costs.

Communication manager Rachel Adams said the competition has grown rapidly from the $5,000 cash sponsorship, 15 mentors and 48 contestants it attracted when the competition launched in 2012.

“This year we aim to select the top 15 teams, attract 35 mentors and raise up to $60,000.

“Already we have raised $35,000 and have over 10 mentors signed up. So we are really confident we will hit our target,” Rachel said.

SODA has also landed Hamilton-based software development company NetValue Ltd as its $10,000 naming rights sponsor.

“Being a partner to SODA and supporting Innes48 is tremendously important to us. SODA provide a valuable incubation structure that we can contribute to and help develop business in the Waikato,” Netvalue CEO Graham Gaylard said.

“The synergy between NetValue and SODA highlights our commitment to each other and to growing business locally.”

SODA’s acting CEO Petr Adamek says he is excited to see a growing community of companies prepared to support SODA’s key entrepreneurship event of the year.

“The contributors already committed include great brands, such as ASB, 2degrees, Stainless Design, Deloitte, MEA Mobile, Enterprise Angels and LearningWorks Ltd,” he said.

As well as sponsors, Innes48 is looking for up to 35 experienced mentors to help guide and advise competing teams through the process of developing a scalable business over the weekend.

“It’s all about supporting start-ups. Who knows; we might get a global success out of it,” registered mentor and Marketing Brainiacs director Wayne Attwell said.

“It’s an incredibly exciting event to be part of.”

Registrations for Innes48 mentors and teams are now open at

SODA is Waikato’s Entrepreneurship Hub. Each year we receive more than 120 enquiries from startups, and ultimately support 60 of these. On average, we enter up to eight high-growth ventures into SODA’s incubation programme. In addition, more than 1,500 fledgling and established entrepreneurs participate annually in SODA events, we are leading the growth of early stage investment opportunities, and we’ve established a unique 'born global' partnership programme.

SODA is New Zealand Trade and Enterprise-accredited and Callaghan innovation funded incubator. We also have six major corporate partners: ASB, Bold Horizon, Cisco, Deloitte, Norris Ward McKinnon, and Ultrafast Fibre. We also have more than 20 collaborative strategic partners and project sponsors. We take a lead in developing new and innovative business growth-oriented projects, in collaboration with other partners in our region, including the National Agricultural Fieldays, Waikato Innovation Park, NetValue, Gallagher Group, 2degrees, Wintec, and Waikato-Tainui. Examples of projects that have earned SODA respect in the regional community include the Innes48 Hour Business Startup Competition, the Fieldays Innovation Den, the Digital Industry Forum, the Internship Meet & Match, SODA Labs, and the popular SODA Pop Social Club.


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