The Innovation Council’s first Innovation Heroes roadshow was launched in Auckland last night with four past winners telling their stories and the council opening its site for nominations for this years Innovators Awards.
Founder and CEO Louise Webster says the Innovation Council added the three-city roadshow into the awards mix this year to get inspiring stories out to more people and encourage innovative businesses to keep up the good work.
“It’s hard work running a start-up or early stage business, so getting recognition and inspiration is important.
“No one rings you up at the end of your first 12 months and says: ‘Well done, you’ve made it through your first year.’ So it’s a hard journey and these journeys need to be shared. “We’re saying, you’ve heard our stories, now tell us yours.”
Webster says although entries for the Innovators Awards don’t open until June 12, the nominations period is key, with over 95 percent of nominations leading to a business entering the awards.
“I’ve had people crying on the phone when I ring to tell them they’ve been nominated. The fact someone thinks they have a fantastic business; that what they are doing is valuable, makes it worthwhile.
“Kiwis are so modest. You have to convince them they have a story worth sharing.”
She says the awards have grown every year since they morphed out of the Bayer Innovators Awards in 2011. Bayer focused on the health and science community and got only 20 entries in 2010, so the decision was made to broaden the concept to include innovation in business.
In 2013, 200 companies entered, up 30 percent from 2012, and Webster wants to see 250 participants this year, and 450 people attending the celebration dinner.
“Our aim is to showcase and profile a lot of different people. All of them are contributing to the growth of the economy in different ways.”
May 15: Christchurch roadshow
May 22: Wellington roadshow
June 12: Entries open
August 14: Entries close
September 10: Finalists announced
October 15: Awards ceremony