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The Pick Business Ideas Competition Returns In 2024

The Pick, a Taitokerau Northland business ideas competition, will return in 2024 to support the growth of the region’s startup community.

Founded by Northland Inc in 2017, The Pick encourages individuals who want to explore, or kick start, a business idea, to test and develop it into a business model.

The Pick 2024 is delivered in partnership with Whāriki Te Tai Tokerau, McKay and Ministry of Social Development, with sponsors Northpower, Henderson Reeves, and the Flying Kiwi Angels.

Supported by business experts, investors, mentors, and regional leaders, throughout a ten-week programme, participants hone their ideas. Finalists are selected to present their concepts in front of a panel of Tai Tokerau business leaders, during a pitch event, and the overall winner receives a tailored business support package to help grow their business idea into reality.

Northland Inc CE, Paul Linton, says The Pick builds regional capability, so that more people can participate in the economic opportunities available to businesses.

“The Pick allows innovative thinkers across Taitokerau Northland to develop their business ideas with the support of regional business experts and a network of likeminded entrepreneurs. The Pick programme contributes to building a thriving, sustainable, and inclusive economy for Northland, with our successful businesses creating employment opportunities, and positive social outcomes, across our region”.

Winner of The Pick 2019, Debbie Stowe, developed her idea for a gluten free, vegetable mince, Vince, during The Pick programme. Originally applying with an idea to launch organic granola, the programme workshops soon revealed the granola market did not offer a compelling gap for a product like hers.

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“It was through this work, that I uncovered that the potential for a new organic granola brand in the New Zealand market was limited. With the support of The Pick team, I pivoted my idea to a recipe I had developed for my daughter, who was struggling with food allergies. Launching a business in this space was close to my heart.”

During The Pick 2019, Debbie developed a brand identity, a packaging design, and a plan to grow the business – eventually going on to win the competition. Within a year of The Pick, Vince could be found on the shelves at New World Onerahi, Farro, Pak n Save Whangarei and New World Regent, as well as selling direct to customers online, and through smaller health food retailers.

“Without The Pick, the idea for Vince may not have been developed into the business it is today. The workshops, facilitation, and networking opportunities ensured I had the base to grow Vince from an idea to a functioning business. Four years on, I’m now working full time on Vince, and moving to a larger manufacturing facility in preparation for our nationwide launch, in 2024.” she says.

This year, Northland Inc is joined by three partners, welcoming back Whāriki Te Tai Tokerau, who have been with The Pick since 2022, and joined, for the first time, by new partners, Ministry of Social Development and McKay, where Managing Director, Lyndsay Faithfull, is enthusiastic about entrepreneurship.

“We are absolutely delighted by the new partnership we have formed with The Pick 2024. As a company that has thrived on a core value of drive for 87 years, it is fantastic to be part of a competition that champions innovative and kiwi ingenuity. Over the years we have witnessed firsthand the incredible power of entrepreneurial drive in overcoming obstacles and setbacks. For McKay, drive represents the ability to take action despite the chance of failure, to push through difficulties to achieve. We are excited to witness this same drive throughout The Pick as we support the remarkable talent of aspiring entrepreneurs.”

The Pick will run from late-February 2024, with workshops held in person and online across 8 weeks before finalists are selected to prepare for Pitch Night. Entries for The Pick close 18 February 2024.

Applicants are invited to find all relevant information online at and reach out for more information through

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