Home / Tech  / Wish we’d thought of that: Awesome young innovators

Wish we’d thought of that: Awesome young innovators

The 2017 New Zealand Innovation Awards are open for entries. If you’ve got an amazing product, service, process or venture – or you know someone who needs to be shoulder-tapped – now’s the time to get it out there. And to help encourage entries and showcase the categories, we’re going to be regularly showcasing the best innovations we come across. We start with young innovators (an awards category sponsored by the good people at the Museum of Transport and Technology) that are absolutely crushing it. 

Jamie Beaton and Crimson Consulting

Jamie Beaton won the Young New Zealand Innovator award at last year’s Innovation Awards, and it’s easy to see why. After all, before turning 22 years old he graduated from Harvard with a degree in Applied Mathematics-Economics and a Masters in Applied Mathematics, co-founded Crimson Education in 2013 (a full-service education consultancy that has a multi-million valuation, and has assisted thousands of students), won first prize at the Global Student Entrepreneurship Awards (GSEA, a series of competitions for student entrepreneurs who own a for-profit business), and became an equity investor with Tiger Management.

But Beaton says his success is something anyone can do if they put their mind to it. As he told Idealog last month: “Knowledge of investing and finance empowers entrepreneurship. Every person has their passions and interests. It’s about ambition and information.”


Auror nabbed the Emerging New Zealand Innovator award at the 2016 Innovation Awards. The company has developed a software platform that allows police and businesses to share information about crime and to work together to identify offenders – a task that’s all the more important considering retail crime saps about $100 billion from the global economy every year. The company’s easy-to-use software helps streamline the crime reporting process to reduce response times and increase the likelihood that offenders are caught. Once incidents are uploaded, Auror’s software is able to “connect the dots,” linking offenders and vehicles, tracking theft trends, generating reports on theft activity, and allows interactivity between different users. The software also has tools, including automatic Number Plate Recognition, to alert police when offenders are spotted. Overall, think of it like a digital version of Batman, working in the background to keep the community safe.

Rebecca Gidall and PartTimer

A web-based recruitment service that connects employers with part-time workers based on real-time availability and where they live – not necessarily experience, Gidall was just 18 when she started it all.

As she said in an interview with Idealog last month: “Building a successful startup is often about timing, and luckily for us, we managed to come up with the right solution at the right time. Not only was it the right timing for both the employers and jobseekers, as both sides were clearly fed up with traditional recruitment and ready for a change, but it was also the right timing for both of us as co-founders, as we were in a good position to actually build PartTimer into what it has become today.”

She also has some pretty ambitious goals. “Getting 1,000 active employers using PartTimer is at the forefront of our goals,” she explains. “At present, we have around one-quarter of that, so we’re already 25 percent there. In terms of our chunky goals looking out to 5+ years, we’re aiming for PartTimer to be the market leader for part-time jobs in New Zealand, and in addition, we’d like to have a foothold in Australia and be beginning to look at other Asia-Pacific countries such as Singapore.”

Ocean Cleanup Foundation

The Ocean Cleanup foundation, started by Dutch engineering student Boyan Slat when he was just 20 years old, is set to start cleaning up the Pacific Ocean next year. So just how will the whole thing work? In short, a floating barrier will slowly push plastic and other rubbish to shore. Once ashore, the waste will be recycled and turned into products that can be sold to continue funding the project. If that’s not an innovative idea to make the world a better place, it’s hard to know what is.

Solar-powered water purifier

Deepika Kurup was just 14 years old when she came up with the idea for a solar-powered water purifier, which uses sunlight to decontaminate dirty water. The invention could save countless lives, as more than a billion people around the world don’t have access to clean drinking water.

  • Do you have an innovation worth celebrating? Check out the categories for the 2017 Innovation Awards, and tell your story by clicking here

Review overview