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Make Give Live is the winner of the first Idealog/Cointreau Creative Kickstart Competition

Claire Conza’s Make Give Live, a social enterprise making hand-crafted knitwear to give warmth and support to those in need, emerged as the winner of three business pitches by young women at an event on Thursday night in the City of Sails.

Conza’s captured the hearts of attendees at a food-filled soiree at the headquarters of Eat My Lunch in Auckland’s city centre. Sponsored by Idealog and Cointreau, the event was emceed by Idealog publisher Ben Fahy, and featured a keynote speech by Eat My Lunch co-founder Lisa King. King delivered an inspiring speech on the importance of helping others in need, and how something as simple as ordering a lunch which is then also sent to a low-decile school can make a massive difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of Kiwi children living in poverty.

Then came the pitches. And they were impressive, to say the least.

Aside from Conza, who spoke first, Shalane Hopkins shared plans for her natural, environmentally-friendly and customisable hygiene products, such as deodorants and soaps. Her speech – peppered at times with guffaw-inducing bits of humour – ended with a raucous applause from the audience.

Claire Conza receives her prize

Nicole Lin also received strong applause for impactNPO. The company, which hosts hackathons to help nonprofit organisations, charities and social enterprises with their IT, design and business problems, could make a real difference in assisting charities with their missions by allowing them to focus greater resources on actually helping the economically disadvantaged, King said.

The women had 3 minutes and 33 seconds to pitch their business ideas to a live audience of more than 100 people. Audience members were then able to vote on their favourite ideas using the Pitch Circus app.

A $3000 prize pack including a $1000 cash prize, one hour of mentorship, a profile in Idealog magazine and on idealog.co.nz, and a prize from Cointreau were all part of the goodies Conza walked away with.

Attendees had a chance to mingle both before, and especially after, the event. Drinks were provided by Cointreau. A pear and cinnamon cocktail especially popular.

As the darkness fell over Auckland and Thursday inched closer to Friday, there was also a distinct feeling besides the quality of the pitches presented: you can’t go wrong with delicious food in little bowls.

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