Well done to all finalists and a huge congratulations to Letitia and James from Yonder, who won the top prize.

The inaugural Idea SummitTM Taranaki wrapped up on Tuesday 11 September with four finalists pitching their business ideas to a panel of judges in the hopes of winning a business start-up package worth more than $10,000 to help them turn their business ideas into reality.

“Idea Summit is a new competition to help anyone with a business idea turn it into an innovative business,” says Nick Field of Venture Taranaki.

“The finalists presented four really different and interesting ideas for innovative new businesses.  The winning idea will receive $10,000 cash as start-up capital.”

“From the 77 entries we received, the judges chose four of the best, which have benefitted from mentoring and coaching ahead of the finals, where they were able to pitch for the ultimate business start-up prize package.

“The creative ideas shown across all the entries in Idea Summit Taranaki 2018 have been amazing, and even if they didn’t make the finals there are many that have the potential to do well,” Nick says.
The four finalists were:
  • Chester and Melissa Young, who have set up White Peak Creamery, an innovative plant-based creamery that will offer a new brand of premium dairy-free ice creams, yoghurts and nut milk blends that suit consumers who are limited by allergies and dietary requirements. They have blended their first flavours and hope to find customers in the growing plant-based food sector.
  • Water Warrior is a creation of Paul Oliver that is a monitoring device that will give farmers an early warning of actual or impending water infrastructure failure, using ‘Internet of Things’ networks to keep running costs low.
  • Industrial designer Glenn Catchpole has designs for products that foster practical, hands-on play and social experiences, and his first product is Kit-netic, a flat-pack soapbox racer that can be built and customised by kids.
  • Letitia Stevenson and James Donald’s Yonder wants to make it easier for tourism operators to increase the conversion of website visitors to bookings using artificial intelligence tools. The aim is to allow websites to communicate in a targeted way depending on the visitor’s characteristics. 
After hearing all the pitches, the panel of four judges – successful entrepreneurs Cathy Clennett, Ian Frame, Richard Shearer and Jo-Anne Short – deliberated at length before crowning the winner of Idea Summit Taranaki 2018 Yonder.

The judges noted that it was a very difficult decision, as all finalists had compelling pitches for their start-up businesses. Yonder came out on top as the judges felt it could scale globally, had the potential to solve a real pain point for tourism businesses, and showed a quantifiable commercial model that really demonstrated an understanding of their market.

“This whole process was really really good, both in terms of progressing our thinking around the business, focusing on our customer segments, and honing our pitch,” says Yonder’s Letitia Stevenson.

“The connections we have made through Idea Summit and the experience we’ve gained at all stages of the competition have already made a huge impact to our business. The prize will help us get in front of more customers as we launch and grow Yonder,” Letitia said.

A further prize of $2000 credit at Massey University’s Food Pilot – the southern hemisphere’s largest collection of food processing technology – was awarded to Chester and Melissa Young of White Peak Creamery.