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Celebrating Kiwi innovation at the 2023 KiwiNet Awards

In New Zealand, innovation thrives in every sector, and this spirit of ingenuity takes centre stage at the 2023 KiwiNet Awards.

Innovators who have reimagined menstrual care, disrupted a $8.5 billion industry, put effort into decarbonising transportation, supported and cultivated the start-up scene and saved a wasteful industry have been celebrated at the 2023 KiwiNet Awards.

We take a look at some of the notable winners and Kiwi innovators offering something new that could be set to change the world.

Sprout Breakthrough Innovator: Dr Sean Feast – Precision Chroma & University of Canterbury

Founder and CEO of Precision Chroma, Dr Sean Feast is introducing something new to the world of chromatography which is set to disrupt the industry.

This technology is simplifying the manufacturing of biologic pharmaceuticals which aims to make life-saving medicines more accessible.

Feast saw the potential of this technology when he joined the University of Canterbury 3D porous media research team in 2017 and five years later built Precision Chroma.

The bio-separations industry worth $8.5 billion is set to be disrupted by Feast and Precision Chroma with their 3D printed chromatography technology that can reduce processing times by two days on a commercial scale.

This could save the industry $300 million.

Momentum Student Entrepreneur: Monique Lau – Endosoothe / University of Canterbury

Having first-hand experience with endometriosis, Monique Lau wanted to tackle the challenges women are facing when it comes to the discomfort and stigma of menstrual care.

Lau’s background in chemical formulation resulted in her building Endosoothe, a commitment to redefining the menstrual experience through a wide range of products that addresses the challenges women face during their cycle.

Read more: Kiwi businesswomen shine in Forbes 30 under 30

Endosoothe has been able to craft products using natural active ingredients that prioritise comfort, sustainability and effectiveness.

Not only is she creating a range of products, but Lau is focusing on education and awareness, informing the market through transparency and trust. 

BNZ Researcher Entrepreneur: Professor Rob Badcock – Robinson Research Institute and Victoria University of Wellington

With years and years of experience, even being considered a pioneer in the field of applied superconductivity, Professor Rob Badcock is focusing on decarbonising transportation on an international level.

Focusing on technology to electrify the aviation and heavy transportation industry, Badcock has been able to garner the interest of top global players.

Promising to put New Zealand at the front of the electric aircraft motor market, estimated to be worth more than $200 billion USD by 2050, Badcock is championing this research.

This is done by fostering the country’s innovation system, urging students to design innovations, Badcock is putting New Zealand on the map and showing the world where clean tech can really go.

Simpson Grierson Commercialisation Professional: Kevin Sheehy – MacDiarmid Institute

Kevin Sheehy.

Fostering innovators is one of the most crucial parts of establishing New Zealand as a global leader in addressing some of the world’s most significant challenges, and Kevin Sheehy is one of the country’s biggest advocates for this.

Sheehy is all about supporting deep tech and clean tech researchers through the MacDiarmid Institute, with the institute raising over $13 million in investments for the start-ups affiliated.

Some of the start-ups affiliated include Opo Bio, Allegro Energy, Advemto, Zincovery, Liquium and more.

Contributing to their success, Sheehy is all about scaling up the entrepreneur and innovation scene in New Zealand in order to share with the world what Kiwis have to offer.

PwC Breakthrough Project: Bspkl – GNS Science

Bspkl is New Zealand’s very-first hydrogen deep-tech start-up.

Dr. Jérôme Leveneur and Christina Houlihan co-founded Bspkl based on a discovery that introduced a scalable method for hydrogen production, significantly reducing the reliance on precious metals.

Through this technology, Bspkl recognised the potential to overcome supply chain constraints and support the growth of a clean hydrogen industry.

Now the start-up is in the commercialisation stage where it is seeing the rest of the world quickly pick up on this technology in the hopes of transitioning to a more sustainable future.

MAS Commercialisation Impact: XFrame – Wellington Univentures

Half of New Zealand’s waste is generated by the construction sector, which is estimated at around 1.6 million tonnes per year.

Ged Finch is tackling this problem by creating a framing system that eliminates waste and reduces the raw materials used by the industry.

Using his Master’s in Architecture, Finch was able to design the XFrame system that is designed to disassemble 40 percent faster than traditional building methods and can be reused.

Through XFrame, the building sector can now be a circular economy without compromising growth and development.

Already XFrame has been able to save six tonnes of construction waste to hit landfill and sequestered 35 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

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