Overseas Experience

While Pumpkin Patch won Supreme Award for International Business at the New Zealand International Business Awards 2010, it wasn’t the only Kiwi company feted on Oct 13. The awards celebrate New Zealand business success worldwide and recognise professional excellence and innovative practice, so here are the winners in each of the categories

While Pumpkin Patch won Supreme Award for International Business at the New Zealand International Business Awards 2010, it wasn’t the only Kiwi company feted on Oct 13. The awards celebrate New Zealand business success worldwide and recognise professional excellence and innovative practice, so here are the winners in each of the categories:

Best business operating internationally— under $10m


Established in 2000, M-Com is a global supplier of mobile banking and payment

solutions. CEO Adam Clark says M-Com is the foremost innovator in the mobile financial services arena and is responsible for many worldfirst innovations, such as realtime credit card payments by mobile phone.

“We are unique in that we offer software product, not software development services.”

With more than 180 banks already using its technology, and set to have tens of millions of consumers using its software, the company is already established on five continents and plans to expand into Eastern Europe and Latin America.

“Our growth metrics are looking very encouraging,” says Clark.

Best business operating internationally— $10m to $50M

Gallagher Security Management Systems

Gallagher Security Management Systems successfully markets its products to over 130 countries. Chief executive Bill Gallagher says the company’s security systems are installed on thousands of sites around the world and are used for anything from preventing prison escapes to combating the threat of terrorism at ports and airports.

Product leadership is a cornerstone of the company’s strategy to and Gallagher says in-house R&D involves more than 90 staff: engineers, software developers, testers, project managers, business analysts and technical writers.

“Our significant investment in R&D ensures we win a competitive advantage in the security market, proven by over 160 patents worldwide.”

Best business operating internationally— over $50M

Pumpkin Patch

Pumpkin Patch’s annual sales are close to $400 million, more than 80 percent of it from international markets. Starting as a mail-order children’s clothing business 20 years ago, its products are now sold in more than 527 locations.

“We have done what few, if any other, specialty apparel brands have managed to do: exported our iconic Kiwi brand into 22 markets around the globe,” says chief financial officer Matthew Washington.

This global expansion has been achieved through a mix of channels—its own retail stores, e-commerce, department stores and franchise partners—and technology is seen as a vital investment.

Special Categories (Supported by TechNZ)

Best use of research and development in international business


Based in Hamilton, Simcro is a leading supplier of delivery systems for animal health pharmaceutical products— think injectors, applicators and containers—and over 90 percent of its sales are to international clients.

Simcro is focused on innovation, collaborating with global pharmaceutical companies to develop new products. Simcro’s 12-person R&D team works on more than 30 projects a year, combining leading-edge philosophies, innovative materials and modern manufacturing processes.

“Our international presence, research, innovation, design skills, and proven track record on several key projects is resulting in a growing number of pharmaceutical companies moving more of their business to us,” says chief executive Will Rouse.

Best commercialisation of intellectual property in international business

Grass lanz Technology

Grasslanz Technology calls itself a plant technology provider: it researches, develops and licenses plant varieties, grass endophytes and plant genes, and protects that intellectual property through patents and trade marks.

“These technologies are licensed to seed companies, who deliver them primarily to our end users, who are farmers” explains chief executive John Caradus. “Our new products are created by investing royalty revenue into development projects.”

Up to 40 percent of royalty revenues are currently generated from international sales, with key markets being Australasia and the US.

“Our IP is based on years of solid R&D and we have many examples of successful IP commercialisation,” says Caradus.

Best use of design in international business

Pumpkin Patch

Design is core to Pumpkin Patch’s international success, with the company launching quality children’s clothing on a regular basis—typically new styles hit the stores every week.

“Our design prowess has resulted in a line of children’s clothing that’s instantly recognisable as Pumpkin Patch,” says chief financial officer Matthew Washington. “We are continually looking to improve on our designs and monitor closely the success of lines to see what sells well and what doesn’t.”

The collections are created by in-house design teams, guaranteeing each garment carries the distinctive Pumpkin Patch style.

Most innovative approach to international business

GMP Pharmaceuticals

GMP Pharmaceuticals is a leading multinational pharmaceutical contract manufacturer specialising in a wide range of natural health products such as organic food and dietary supplements.

The company is a onestop shop for health food manufacturers, which general manager Minesh Patel says is a unique and innovative business model in this industry.

“We can be involved intimately in a client’s development, offering services ranging from assistance in developing the product concept before it goes to market, assisting with product trails, support in design and development of packaging, contract manufacturing, and acting as a distributor for the client if they required.”

Leadership Categories

Emerging internationa l business leader

Steve Wilson

The only person to have been president of Plastics New Zealand twice, managing director Steve Wilson has grown Talbot Plastics to a world-leading company. It has won multiple awards and more than 80 percent of its sales are in export markets. It’s the kind of company that Coca Cola comes to when US firms are unable to fulfill its needs, as it did when developing its new ‘Gulfstream’ drink dispenser.

Wilson fosters a winning mentality at the company, recently renamed as Talbot Technologies.

“I encourage independence and boldness. I’m never afraid to take on a new technical challenge and I’ll always back staff to take on a project they believe in.” Wilson is currently

chairman of the Governance Committee of the Plastics Centre of Excellence and has been involved in its industry strategy to double in size by 2015.

Outstanding international business leader

John Brakenridge

Since its inception in 1994, chief executive John Brakenridge has guided The New Zealand Merino Company from a levy funded organisation with $5 million a year turnover, to a fully commercial company with $115 million in annual turnover. Brakenridge’s sharp eye for trends lead him to introduce the Zque brand of socially, ethically and environmentally sustainable Merino products.

“Seeing the international market would eventually demand such a brand, I was keen that when they did we were able to move immediately and capitalise on the trend.”

Brakenridge was recently appointed by the government to the Wool Task Force and the Investment Advisory Panel of the Primary Growth Partnership.

Export witness

We export slightly more than we import. Total exports to June 2010 total $40.655 billion, edging out imports at $40.016 billion.

Out of our top 15 export commodities, the top three (milk, butter and cheese; meat; wood) account for more earnings than the other 12 combined.

The annual trade balance for the June 2010 year was a surplus of $639 million (1.6 percent of exports) compared with an average deficit of 15 percent of exports over the preceding five June years.

Compared with the June 2009 year, exports to China had the largest increase, up $750 million (22 percent), mainly on the back of higher exports of milk powder, butter and cheese.

Commodity-wise, compared with the June 2009 year, exports in logs, wood and wood articles had the largest increase, up $307 million (driven by pinus radiata exports). Crude oil was the next largest, up $162 million.

Export values are now at levels similar to the record high of late 2008. The current high level of the trend coincides with record values for dairy exports.

Idealog has been covering the most interesting people, businesses and issues from the fields of innovation, design, technology and urban development for over 12 years. And we're asking for your support so we can keep telling those stories, inspire more entrepreneurs to start their own businesses and keep pushing New Zealand forward. Give over $5 a month and you will not only be supporting New Zealand innovation, but you’ll also receive a print subscription and a copy of the new book by David Downs and Dr. Michelle Dickinson, No. 8 Recharged (while stocks last).