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Five of the best: Judges announce winners of The Pick:19

A dairy-free ice cream maker and a company that distributes plastic manhole chambers are among the winners of The Pick:19.

The panel of judges met today (Friday, 31 May) via Zoom to cast their final votes and announce the five winners of Northland Inc’s business accelerator competition, which is now in its third year.

The five winners – whittled down from a shortlist of 15 – were: Absolute Stainless, Australasia Moulding, Grinning Gecko, My Goodness! (Wellkit Foods), Olive & Ash; the Judges’ Choice nomination went to Matakohe Architecture and Urbanism.

The judges welcomed the high number of entries and praised the range and exceptional standard of the products and services on display.

Joseph Stuart, general manager, business innovation and growth at Northland Inc, said: “The quality of the top five represents a great opportunity for Northland – it highlights the entrepreneurial spirit and depth of skills that are available in this region.

“All of the winners are perfectly positioned to make an impression on the global landscape.”

The judging process concentrated on six key areas: the strength of the business model (does the strategy make sense – do the figures stack up?); the strength and validity of the idea; the positive impact on Northland (its community, environment and economy); use of Northland’s natural resources; the global potential (is there capacity for the business to scale?); and its innovation.

More than 80 people registered for The Pick:19, with its 12 once-weekly workshops, which was run in association with The Orchard, Callaghan Innovation, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, the New Zealand Regional Business Partner Network, and Ecentre.

The winners will receive a Northland Chamber of Commerce membership and business mentor, through the Business Mentor Association, which is sponsored in turn by the Northland Chamber of Commerce; dinner, bed and breakfast for two at The Duke of Marlborough Hotel in Russell, co-sponsored by The Duke of Marlborough Hotel and Northland Inc; and a media release and business profile, including photographs.


Absolute Stainless: Whangārei-based innovators and manufacturers of a trolley that makes storage of a jet ski on superyachts easy and safe.
Australasia Moulding: suppliers of quality European-designed plastic manhole chambers. Grinning Gecko: Whangārei café and cheesery, where customers can see fresh cheese and ice cream being made onsite from locally-sourced organic milk.
My Goodness! (Wellkit Foods): dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan ice cream; each spoonful contains 60 per cent persimmons grown just north of Whangārei.
Olive & Ash: one hundred per cent plant-based vegetable mince, called Vince; Vince is dehydrated mince – just add water and it is ready to eat in two minutes.

Matakohe Architecture and Urbanism: Te Tai Tokerau-focused architects, who design spaces and places that embody the culture, the history and aspirations of the community.

There will be a celebration for the winners at The Orchard, Northland Inc’s business and events hub, on Wednesday, 5 June, 10-11am.

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