After a hard-fought race (no blood was shed, thankfully), FaceMe has been crowned the winner of the BNZ Presents: The Virgin Business Challenge, after being judged best by some of New Zealand’s top entrepreneurial and business minds.
The company, which has developed a video conferencing system compatible with any device, receives $100,000 in cash, one-on-one time with Sir Richard Branson, a BNZ business education scholarship, mentoring from BNZ and Virgin executives, and flights around the world courtesy of Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand.
The award searched for a clever Kiwi company with the magic combination of passion drive, creativity, innovation, and the desire, as well as the potential, to go global.
Following a rigorous vetting process, the 10 finalists pitched live to a judging panel, which included Hyperfactory founder Derek Handley, Bill Buckley of BSL Enterprises, and RD1 chief executive Sarah Kennedy.
BNZ director partners and challenge judge Anthony Healy said FaceMe exemplified everything the challenge was about.
“It’s safe to say the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in New Zealand, with so many Kiwi companies ready to take the next big step.”
Fellow judge, Virgin head of strategy and corporate development Keith Roberts, said FaceMe would represent New Zealand well on the world stage.
“We set out to find one business that was built around a strong creative original idea, a business that had strong management teams that had demonstrated that they could succeed, and were passionate and proud of what they were doing. Virgin has long looked to New Zealand as a source of talent and ideas so I knew we would unearth some good companies, but have been really very impressed by the depth of talent uncovered.”
BNZ Presents: The Virgin Business Challenge was established in October, launched by Sir Richard Branson during his visit to New Zealand.
More than 260 New Zealand businesses entered the competition.