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Innovate 2013 Winner Announced

Innovate 2013 Winner Announced

Palmerston North, 31 July 2013 - Innovate has announced its winners for 2013. Innovate was created in 2011 by BCC, a Palmerston North based business that specialises in taking high technology ideas to market.

The competition received over 780 ideas in the last three years, with this year’s total of 182 coming from the Manawatu and Wanganui regions. Entries were accepted over 61 days (1 March to 30 April).

Innovate selected its Top 10 on 29 May and each received $500, a prize pack and entry into BCC’s ten week Market Validation programme. This rigorous course saw one of the final ten drop out within the first three weeks.

Those not selected into the Top 10 were invited to Innovate U, a 5 week course aimed at giving participants a “second chance” to get back into the Top 10. Upon completion, 9 ideas were pitched and two were invited back into the last half of the market validation course.

The judging panel, comprised of Simon Barnett, Vicki Stewart, James Watts, Sharon Bryant and Larry Ellison, all have substantial entrepreneurial backgrounds and run very successful businesses in New Zealand.

The judges heard pitches yesterday from the remaining eleven finalists and over the course of nine and a half hours, decided on the winners.

“This year presented us a wide and massively diverse group of entries, and as judges we have had the pleasure of watching these entries go through the ‘Innovate process’ of validating their ideas and refining their business models. Picking a winner proved so challenging that after many hours of heated debate over a winner, the judges decided to sponsor two “Highly Commended” awards for entries we feel made huge improvement during the process. Whilst there can be only one winner, we would like to thank everyone who competed in Innovate, and we encourage them to leverage the opportunity of the 90 day Startup process from BCC, and to continue on their path of becoming a great New Zealand success story that we can all celebrate.” said James Watts, convenor of Judges.

Fred Ohlsson, Managing Director Business Banking at ANZ, Innovate’s Commercial Partner, says, "Congratulations to Deinika and Cameron from Diamanage, whose innovation, energy and growth potential made them standouts amid a very strong field. They are deserving winners of this award and their ideas and achievements will be a source of inspiration for others with new business ideas in Manawatu and beyond.

“It takes courage, skill and hard work to turn great ideas into viable businesses, which is why ANZ is proud to support Innovate and get behind the entrepreneurs and innovators that will drive the region's future. Judging by the quality of entries this year, the future is looking bright for entrepreneurship in Manawatu and Wanganui."

The winners of Innovate for 2013 are –

Supreme Winner | $10,000 prize
Deinika Elston and Cameron Kilgour, Diamange
UCOL students Cameron and Deinika came to Innovate hoping to ease the pain of those learning how to live with Diabetes. In a market that is sadly growing, Cameron and Deinika are using new technology to ease the management of some of the many factors that sufferers have to monitor. By coupling their slick design skills and huge commitment to the Innovate process with a growing problem, their company Diamanage have made great progress towards making their idea a success.

Highly Commended | $500 from UCOL & $500 from Judges
Keith Betteridge, Cow Collar
Throughout the Innovate process, Keith has shown tenacity and drive to solve a very big problem in farming using a completely new approach. The judges were really impressed with the progress he made in highlighting to them that his innovative solution of using a range of sensors on a Cow Collar was technically feasible. Keith’s ability to put a team around him that could prove it was feasible, his engagement with potential customers and his progress in understanding what he needed to do to deliver a viable business, was outstanding.

Highly Commended | $500 from UCOL & $500 from Judges
Juanita Sheilds, Lash Bar
Juanita entered Innovate with a deep background in the industry with which her idea was inspired by. The judges have been impressed with Juanita’s passion, her depth of knowledge of the customer’s problem and how she has gone about developing a product to solve those problems. The judges believe this is truly a globally unique product which has potential to be the platform for a successful business in the $6.6 billion eye care market.

ENDS

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