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Business idea that turns pest pines into essential oils

14 November 2014

Business idea that turns pest pines into high-quality essential oils a winner

Taking an environmental problem and turning it into a commercial success has seen Queenstown social enterprise team Wilding & Co awarded with the ‘most innovative idea’, the first of three $1,000 milestone awards from Contact Energy, co-principal partner of Ākina Foundation’s six-month accelerator programme, Launchpad.

Over the last century wilding pines, native to North America, have taken over much of the South Island and their eradication has become a focus not only for the government, but also for local communities in the area.

Wilding & Co plays its part by clearing and controlling the spread of wilding pines in the Central Otago region, distilling them into high-quality essential oils and finished products marketed for their scent, anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties. They have also secured orders for many tonnes of bulk oil from international buyers.

“As a social enterprise, it’s inspiring to see Wilding & Co’s plan to implement their idea in a way that will not only help restore the natural beauty of the Central Otago environment through pest eradication, but that will also create new jobs and high-quality products” says Contact’s Head of Communications and Sustainability and competition co-judge, Tina Porou.

“All eleven social enterprise teams on the Launchpad programme have outstanding ideas with the potential to deliver meaningful change, but in the end we felt the team at Wilding & Co deserved special recognition for the innovativeness of their idea,” says Tina.

Sponsored by Contact Energy and the Department of Internal Affairs, Launchpad runs until March 2015. The programme will assist the eleven social enterprises with practical hands-on business mentoring and development support, including access to funders and investors to help them turn their ideas into thriving, self-sustaining businesses.

Over the six-month programme, Contact is sponsoring three $1,000 milestone awards – the most innovative idea; best community engagement; and most improved enterprise – as well as a $20,000 people’s choice award at the end of the programme.

For a wealth of information on the Launchpad programme, and to find out more about the exciting ideas of the eleven teams taking part in the programme check out the website.

To find out more about Wilding & Co and to support their initiative, visit their website.


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