A Masterton man’s plan to sell his patented steel-mesh safety goggles worldwide has been awarded a $60,000 prize package to further expand his business.
Yesterday Phil Hall was named the supreme winner of Business.govt.nz’s ANZ Flying Start Business Plan competition, after winning over judges with his scratch and fog resistant safety goggles, Safe Eyes, and a plan to enter overseas markets.
He owns Wairarapa-based Kiwi Ideas Company with wife Janette, which he started in 2004.
“The cash and business services will make a huge difference to us and help us grow to another level," he says.
“Right now we’re looking to extend our worldwide distribution network and ramp up our marketing efforts, so winning the competition couldn’t have come at a better time.
“It’s a great thing for the Wairarapa too. A number of local companies are involved in helping us make our products and it’s fantastic to show that a little area like ours can take on the world and win.”
The company's business proposal beat over 500 entries to claim the top prize, which includes $30,000 cash for growth opportunities, social media and web development, legal advice, training, and advertising.
Says small business minister Maurice Williamson: “Their drive and ambition should be an inspiration to all small business owners.”
Business.govt.nz manager Katie Wellington praised the quality of entries received during the competition, which promoted the benefits of having a business plan and the resources available on the government website for small businesses.
“The competition attracted a great deal of excellent business plans, which really demonstrates the entrepreneurial spirit of New Zealanders.
“The beauty of Mr Hall’s entry is that it shows how a business plan can help turn an idea into reality.”
The other big winner was Auckland’s Jeff Broad, recipient of the $10,000 exporter prize, with his climate and irrigation management system judged to have the best export potential.
His company, Autogrow Systems Ltd, will now have to decide which Asia-Pacific countries holds the best export opportunities for its automated greenhouses and hydroponics systems.
"We chose the winners of the first Flying Start Business Plan competition because they have a solid business plan in place, were geared for growth and had exporting merit which with some help from ANZ could achieve substantial and sustained exports," says Frank Olssen, ANZ's managing director of business banking.
Broad, the founder of Autogrow Systems, says the business idea came out of growing vegetables for his family at home where he soon got tired of the effort required to maintain constant nutrients and temperature to plants.
Using his training as an electronics engineer, he created an automated growth system that took care of everything for him.
He says the system is as simple to use as a mobile phone and can be translated into different languages, which is an advantage in emerging markets.
Sixteen regional winners also received $3000 prize packages each at the Wellington ceremony.