Paul Charteris' Tarawera Ultramarathon business finished ahead of the other contenders at the first Rotorua Startup Pitch night.
Charteris started the race series six years ago despite his mother's pleas that he get a real job. “It truly has been a passion and it is never easy starting a business,” Charteris told the audience at the event.
“Not everyone has had faith in me, including myself. In fact, when I first started this my mum just pleaded with me. She said, ‘Please, please Paul, just become a policeman. You cannot possibly ask people to run through the forest and make a business out of it.’"
The pitch night was organised by Rotorua X, a regional business network that wants to revitalise Rotorua's CBD and has developed the Rotorua X Incubate programme to foster businesses or social enterprises that are less than two years old.
The judging panel, mayor Steve Chadwick; electoral candidates Todd McClay and Tamati Coffey; the head of crowdfunding provider Snowball Effect, Josh Daniell, and Enterprise Angels investor Ryan Holmes, awarded second prize to Julia Charity, who heads the Look after Me homestay network.
Charity said she had worked for three years to make something of her business idea.
The event was attended by about 60 people and was held at the Waiariki National Centre of Excellence for the Forest and Wood Industry.