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Start-up Pitch night to showcase local organisations

Start-up Pitch night to showcase local organisations

Rotorua X’s Start-up Pitch night is back next month and plans to be bigger and better than ever.

Rotorua X Charitable Trust chairman Darren McGarvie said following the success of the Start-up Pitch Night in 2014 and thanks to financial support from our headline sponsor Employers and Manufacturers Association BOP the event will be held annually.

“Last year, our inaugural Start-up Pitch Night had 11 organisations pitch their idea in front of a packed audience. The feedback of the event was phenomenal and we are excited to hold the event again with a stellar line-up of judges.”

“The business pitch is an essential skill of any start-up or organisation that wants to grow. Not only is it used to promote the business to investors to attract funds for growth, but it also provides clarity of vision which is critical for inspiring your team as a leader as well as your customers.”

“Our Start-up Pitch Night gives the Rotorua business community a platform to practice their pitch and receive constructive feedback without the high-pressure situation. This is not a forum for soliciting investment or funds for businesses, it’s purely to practice an organisation’s pitch,” Mr McGarvie said.

The Start-up Pitch Night is for anyone that has an amazing idea for a start-up business or non-profit enterprise that wants feedback or an established company with a fresh idea to achieve serious growth.

A maximum of 15 organisations will be able to pitch with an entry fee for participating organisations of $49.

“Organisations pitching will have six minutes to impress the panel of business experts, as well as the audience,” he said.

The judges include Soda Inc CEO Dr Claire McGowan, CEO Sue de Bievre, Snowball Effect Head of Company Pipeline Shaun Edlin, Enterprise Angel Executive Director Bill Murphy and head judge Mayor Steve Chadwick.

“This will be a lively and entertaining evening showcasing the entrepreneurs in our town. Audience attendance is free and we encourage the business community to come along and help pick the crowd favourite. Audience spaces are limited so we urge people to RSVP early to avoid disappointment,” Mr McGarvie said.

Prizes are being sourced for the winning pitch and will include products or services to help the organisation achieve their goals such as business coaching.

The Start-up Pitch night is on Wednesday 7 October at 6pm at Waiariki Institute of Technology, who have donated the use of the facilities.

To register your interest in pitching go to and complete the online registration form. To secure your spot in the audience RSVP via Facebook, or email

About Rotorua X

• Rotorua X is a charitable trust with the purpose to inspire, educate and connect Rotorua businesses and social enterprises. Our mission is to improve the leadership and collaboration of the business community driving sustained economic growth and well-being of the Rotorua District.

• Governed by a board of eight trustees of local business people that are passionate about Rotorua, revitalising our CBD and helping businesses and social enterprises launch and grow.

•In the last year Rotorua X has achieved:

Facebook 650+ followers, with a regular reach of 1-2,000

Email 430+ in contact database

Sponsors 40+ organisations providing support

Events 749 connected, inspired & upskilled attendees

Helped incubate and launch 34 new businesses and social enterprises in Rotorua and Kawerau

Hosted Entrepreneur of the Year and author Sam Hazledine at an EPIC Connect event with over 100 attendees

• To find out more about Rotorua X go to

About the judges:

Dr Claire McGowan – CEO, Soda Inc

Claire is actively involved in technology commercialisation and investment. She also has several governance roles and a range of projects and roles in the Maori economy. She is passionate about providing opportunities in industry and network development, education and investment, for entrepreneurs.

From Te Arawa/Ngati Pikiao, she enjoys taking a more active role in projects that contribute to the future creation of wealth for Maori and New Zealand as a whole.

Sue de Bievre – CEO,

Sue is a qualified Chartered Accountant in both New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Not only has she worked in well-regarded professional accountancy practices over many years, but she has also owned small businesses of her own. Sue is passionate about helping New Zealand businesses and loves working within the entrepreneurial community.

Shaun Edlin - Head of Company Pipeline, Snowball Effect

Shaun completed an MSc in Neuroscience at the University of Canterbury and went on to study IP law at Victoria University. He has spent most of his professional life working on the commercialisation of technology, first at the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand, and subsequently at renowned biofuels company, LanzaTech. Shaun is passionate about innovation and technology, especially in the biomedicine, biotech, ICT and green tech sectors.

Bill Murphy - Executive Director, Enterprise Angel

Originally from the United States, Bill is a qualified Accountant CPA (USA), CA (NZ) with 30 years commercial business experience gained in roles as a business owner, General Manager, Chief Financial Officer, accountant, business advisor and investor in businesses in the United States, the United Kingdom and New Zealand.

Bill founded Enterprise Angels in 2008 and has since grown four chapters of angel investors (Tauranga, Rotorua, Taupo and Hamilton) which has resulted in $11.9 million being invested in 37 deals and has over 150 investor members.

Head Judge – Mayor Steve Chadwick

From 1996 to 1999 Steve was a councillor on Rotorua District Council, chairing the Social Services Committee.

In 1999 she ran a successful campaign for Labour and became the Member of Parliament for Rotorua. Steve’s career in Central Government spanned twelve years, including three years as a List MP. During this time, she held the portfolios of Associate Minister of Health, Minister of Conservation and Minister of Women’s Affairs. Her proudest achievements include sponsoring the Smoke free Environments Act and securing funding ($72 million) for the clean-up of Rotorua lakes.

From 2012 to 2013, Steve worked as a business consultant for health, conservation and democratic governance. Many of her projects were under the auspices of the United Nations, in New Zealand, Asia and the Pacific.

In 2013, Steve was again asked to represent her community and successfully stood for mayor of Rotorua. She now spearheads a committed council and community working collaboratively to see the Rotorua District grow and flourish. ‘Tatou tatou - we together’, is their vision.


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