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Check out the finalists for BNZ’s Start-up Alley: Social Enterprise Kick Start edition

As those in the know already are well aware (or, at risk of sounding redundant, know), the famed Webstock is returning to Wellington from February 12-16. And as part of that, so too is BNZ’s Start-up Alley. And the finalists are perhaps the most impressive crop yet.

Six teams have put in the proverbial hard years to make it to the finals of the event and will duke it out for prizes in two categories: Start-Up Accelerator – taking New Zealand to the world (aimed at tech businesses who have developed an innovative tech product and have their sights on potential growth and expansion beyond the Land of the Long White Cloud) and Social Enterprise Kick Start – making New Zealand a better place (aimed at start up social enterprises with a technology component).

The prizes are well worth fighting for – including twenty thousand dollars, mentoring and more. But to win those prizes, teams will have to impress judges including PledgeMe founder Anna Guenther, CD Baby creator Derek Sivers, Head of BNZ Small Business Harry Ferreira, and Breaker CTO Leah Culver.

After taking a look at the Start-Up Accelerator teams, let’s take a look at the Social Enterprise Kick Start finalists.

Accreditron

An inter-agency approach to reduce duplication and risk in New Zealand’s social sector. They claim they are the first tool in New Zealand that has the potential to bring together the right information to answer questions to help government make better and more informed decisions for how they spend money in a way that most benefits people. “The impact of a tool that has quality data will be huge for New Zealand,” they claim. “For example, understanding how to access accredited services with simple searches will soon be a reality.”

It’s a big goal for a team of just six people. But the company says they plan to grow.

Talk Town

A social enterprise start-up, Talk Town teaches digital self-advocacy and communication skills game for deaf kids through the one thing all kids love: games.

The folks behind Talk Town say a digital game is the ideal format for Talk Town, because it’s practical, accessible no matter here someone is, can be played independently, is child-led, is highly visual for deaf learners, readily scalable, and accessible to low-income kids via their school or local library computers. Those are all pretty good reasons, yes?

Whare Hauora

“Our purpose is to measure the housing environments for New Zealanders,” the company says. “With this information we hope to empower and educate residents on how they can make changes to their environment for a healthier home.”

That’s all well and good, but there’s more. Whare Hauora was formed from a discussion by two of the trustees, Amber Craig and Brenda Wallace, in early 2016. Wallace’s five-year-old daughter was continuously staying home from school or going to hospital for her asthma. To help measure the house and see whether her home was healthy, Wallace paid for a $300 sensor, but didn’t want to buy five of these to put into her home. Thinking there had to be a better way, she bought $30 worth of parts and created her own sensors for her home. This meant she could put a sensor in each room and compare the differences. With this information, she was able to see that her daughter’s room was the coldest bedroom in the house. Wallace was then able to swap the room her daughter slept in, reducing her asthma and improving the health of whānau.

Now, Whare Hauora wants to provide affordable equipment that will allow residents to measure the temperature and humidity within their whare (house). The information that is collected will then be anonymised and aggregated, and then be shared publicly to provide facts and data on the conditions New Zealanders live in. A noble goal if there ever was one.

Want to check out Start-up Alley for yourself? Hop on over to the St James Theatre in Wellington on starting from 6pm on Thursday, February 15. Oh, and it's FREE.

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