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Top Seven Finalists Through To Innovate Hawke’s Bay

Over the course of two nights this week, 25 Innovate Hawke’s Bay mentors, listened to 20 semi-finalists pitch their business ideas, hoping to gain access into the rigorous Innovate accelerator programme.

Innovate’s proven playbook, a staple in the Manawatu business scene, has extended reach into regional New Zealand this year. “Our main goal is to provide a structured, localised approach using a system and theories that have been heavily validated over the past 10 years in the Manawatu. Innovate has helped establish a pathway for entrepreneurs to work through their business models, connect into their local and our national mentor scene and opens the door to investment, something every founder understands is crucial to their game,” says Dave Craig, CEO of The Factory. “Our understanding of regional New Zealand is second-to-none so when Luke Irving from Fingermark in Havelock North knocked on our door to see if Innovate could support founders and entrepreneurs in Hawke’s Bay, we were excited.”

“I was lucky enough to judge the Innovate finals in my hometown of Palmerston North last year and was blown away by the sheer quality of the finalists and the programme. When I spoke with other local Hawke’s Bay companies about the programme, their support as well as Fingermark’s has helped get Innovate Hawke’s Bay off the ground,” says Luke Irving, CEO and Founder of Fingermark.

Innovate Hawke’s Bay is run through The Factory by Havelock North local, Hal Josephson. Hal’s experience in the startup and angel investing landscape is immense. “We had just under 50 entries in our first year and our mentors had their hands full in selecting the finalists. Our plan was to help five finalists accelerate their business this year, but the talent was so tight that the mentors selected seven. Our Innovate team has their hands full in prepping these people and ideas for our final pitch night on the 24th of November,” says Hal.

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The programme for the finalists begins Monday night where the ‘Top 7’ will be guided through a structured process that not only will help them validate and build their business but also connect them into a mentor pool of talent that spans New Zealand and the globe.

The Process

Over the next 2 months, the seven finalists will meet each week at Fingermark in Havelock North and dive into building their idea into a validated business. Each finalist will be paired with mentors as well as have access to the full mentor pool The Factory has built over the past 18 years, which includes national and international presence.

Using lean methodologies, finalists will learn about intellectual property and protection, cash flow and budgeting, customer validation but most importantly, what it’s like to be an entrepreneur. This all cumulates into a pitch night happening on the 24th of November in Hastings, where each will have an opportunity to present their validated idea to local Hawke’s Bay business leaders, angel investors and others that support entrepreneurship in the region.

The Supporters:
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Gina Ulrich 
Gina’s company is to create an accessible baby food, which delivers all the benefits of fresh food with the convenience of a shelf-stable product at a competitive price that is accessible to all NZ families.

Sarah Grant & Anneliese Hough |Magic Beans
Magic Beans is building a free-to-use platform that will allow people to connect across NZ and the world to grow and share food together.

Oliver McCarthy
Oliver is helping develop internet availably within rural areas. His main driver is around STEM subjects for students; more internet availability means more students participating in STEM.

James Crow
CashCab is a modern cash in transit startup, designed as a digital two-way platform, leveraging the 45% of smaller local security companies, who hold the means but not the opportunity to services the large SME market when those businesses run out of cash.

Tim Groves
Tim’s company, Rusty Deer, designs, outsources manufactures and delivers typically laser cut sheet steel art and signs to customers around New Zealand and internationally.

Krissie Cichon

Krissie has come up with a patented wax applicator brush, designed to be simple, fast, and hygienic, with minimal wastage. The product gives salon results from the comfort of home.

Sarah Glatz

Sarah has created a mobile art studio that teaches art to Years 1-6, marketed as an after school art club on different school premises. The sessions are planned with detailed materials, lesson plans and examples of what the artwork is each week and sent out in packs to teachers across the country.

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