A solution to the issues New Zealand dairy owners are facing took out the Most Viable Business Award at the Soda Inc. Innes48 Start-up Competition at Wintec last night.
The winning team, Creative Dragons travelled from China to compete in the 48-hour business start-up competition. They wasted no time in identifying and responding to the major issues facing local convenience stores – being robbed, low margins and long hours. Their solution, C&D Box, a cooperative concept, responded to the theme of the weekend 'better together’ by putting store owners together to benefit from better security through technology, group buying and support.
Creative Dragons received $10,000 from platinum sponsor Wintec. The team included students and graduates from Wintec and the University of Waikato, graduates from Wintec’s tertiary partners in China and academics from Chengdu University of Information Technology.
However, it was a local team, Brown & Down Boys, that stole the show. This family team consisted of father and son, Edward (Ted) Pogai, and son Christian-Lee Pogai (12 years old) and their friends Livi Hirawani (15 years old), Adam Williams, Porourangi Gudgeon and Maari Renee Moke.
Brown & Down Boys took out the Peoples’ Choice and the Best Pitch awards with an Airbnb style concept to respond the issues New Zealand marae are facing to maintain their facilities. Their concept, an authentic tourism experience for participating marae won the hearts of the audience and judges alike through its sharp and at times, witty delivery, combined with a great idea designed to create “win-win” partnerships.
Winners of the Most Innovative Idea, team Casually Yes, developed Hook Me Up. This business idea aims to bring the fishing community together through a web-based programme to hook anglers up with boat owners and create a more valuable fishing experience.
SODA Inc. chief executive Erin Wansbrough said the weekend had been a gripping journey for the fifteen teams and everyone involved was "better together" for it.
“Wowing the judges or even taking part in this “fail-fast” “learn-fast” competition takes a lot of passion and creativity, and demands innovation which the teams this year showed in volumes.”
“By expanding our thinking, we go beyond competition, as competing is not the best path to success. Challenging rather than collaborating, can lead to demise.
“The theme, ‘better together’ positively influenced the start-up ideas developed by these 15 teams. Their ideas address the issues of a modern world and respond through taking a collaborative, community approach,” she said.
Judge, Roanne Parker announced the six teams that had successfully made it through to the final. She expressed on behalf of the judges that they were impressed with the calibre of each of the business ideas, with many being world class. She did stress however, for all of the teams that it is important for start-ups to aim higher.
“In a small market like New Zealand, the long tail is pretty short, so think bigger, take opportunities, knock on doors. We’re so proud of you, this experience is extraordinary and remember 98 per cent of entrepreneurship is aspiration.”
The judges for this year’s competition were Roanne Parker, founder and managing director Calibrate Digital Marketing, Robert Stone, founder New Zealand The Innovation Nation, Chip Dawson, executive board Member NZ US Council and Campbell Gower, chief cook and bottle washer Phil & Teds.
Judge Bob Stone gave some sage advice at the end of the night for current and future competitors to consider.
“Next year, we’d like to see more women” he said. “Think big, it’s a big world and you can conquer it."
The Soda Inc. Innes 48 Start-up Competition was made possible with the support of: Wintec, Gallagher, ASB Bank, Waikato-Tainui, LearningWorks, University of Waikato, Callaghan Innovation, Deloitte New Zealand, Fieldays Innovations, Norris Ward McKinnon, NetValue, Hamilton City Council, Chow:Hill, Good George Brewing and Loveblock Wines.
The SODA Inc. Innes48 Business Start Up Competition kicked off yesterday for the 7th year. The Opening Ceremony included talks from entrepreneurs Emily Heazlewood, Darrel Hadley, Peter Howell and Hal Josephson on their entrepreneurial journeys and gave the VIP guests and teams some of their key learnings. With only 48 hours to come up with a business idea, the speakers made it clear the teams need to learn how to fail fast and bounce back.
Emily Heazlewood gave us insight on the three main learning points of her journey. The power of people and making meaningful connections is what helped her make the next step in business. After 12 months of developing and launching her application, Romer, understanding the why played a big part in the growth and improvement of the app. "Having passion, determination and vision for your idea will carry it through hard times when people say no".
The ‘accidental entrepreneur’, Darrel Hadley, co-founder of Good George, shared the importance of focusing on your strengths and knowing what success looks like. Splitting the end goal into small manageable chunks makes the world of difference when building a business.
Trusting your gut was the main learning Peter Howell, co-founder of DROPIT, shared with participants, along with finding the best advisors and asking the right questions. "Try and meet as many mentors and find ones you gel with, LISTEN and learn as much as you can". This being an important message to participants, who are surrounded by 25 expert mentors over the weekend to help get their ideas off the ground.
Changing the world by disrupting the norm was the main message Hal Josephson gave to participants. "It's a process. It's not whether you win or lose it's about communicating what your business is about and learning if there is a need/problem". Disruptive companies are changing the way we look at the world and Hal expressed the need for these businesses to constantly challenge the way we think.
Our theme for 2018 is 'Better Together' - People who are in competition are grinding. They’re more focused on winning than creating real solutions. However, when your thinking becomes expanded, you realise you could do so much more with other people. When you collaborate with other people, 1+1= more than two. The whole becomes different from the sum of its parts.
Teams need to develop a business model that demonstrates "win-win" partnerships that could be built on:
- a culture of co-creation and collaboration
- new models of sharing, rather than ownership
- enduring community values of generosity, equality, honesty and trust, beyond just profit
- taking two or more businesses and combining them to open up new commerce opportunities for all
While many start-ups aspire to disrupt an industry, they often view their peers as competitors rather than prospective collaborators. Yes, start-ups are challengers to the way industries operate and aspects of our lives function, but competing is not always the best path to achieving success.
Challenging, rather than collaborating, leads to the demise of many start-ups, which fail to understand how their industry operates and how best they can maximise their place within it. Having a great idea is essential but, if we can combine this with buy-in from organisations who already possess power, we’re really cooking with fire.
This event wouldn't be possible without the support of, Wintec, Gallagher, ASB, Waikato Tainui, LearningWorks, The University of Waikato, Callaghan Innovation, Deloitte, Fieldays Innovations, Norris Ward McKinnon, Netvalue, Hamilton City Council and Chow:Hill.