The five finalists of Idea Summit 2019 have been announced, and include a technology application, a physical product to assist industrial health & safety, sports safety and two ideas in the food innovation space.

“Idea Summit Taranaki is in its second year this year, and the standard of entries this year has been impressively strong,” says Justine Gilliland, Chief Executive of Venture Taranaki, the region’s development agency who conceived and run the event, in partnership with The Factory.
 
“The competition is open to anyone in Taranaki with a business idea to help them turn it into an innovative business, and the overall winner will get mentoring and coaching to help get it off the ground, along with $10,000 cash as start-up capital.”
 
“The five finalists will each receive mentoring and coaching to help them develop and refine their idea before pitching it to the panel of judges at the finals event on 14 August.”
 
This year’s event also introduces a new Idea Academy programme to help progress a further 15 great business ideas.
 
“The Idea Academy will enable us to help more enterprises move forward and grow the level of innovation and activity in the region.”
 
The finalists and their projects, in no particular order are:
 
  • Simon Elliot has devised a unique product to improve both safety and reliability in large scaffolding systems. Easy and quick to install, the innovation will see a reduction in the cost and wastage associated with installations and, when product development is finalised, is poised to tap into a rapidly growing sector of the construction industry.
 
  • With back-country skiing gaining popularity, the risks of injury due to avalanche are also increased. Stuart Julian has created an emergency breathing device for skiers and snowboarders who find themselves buried in snow which will see their breathing window increase by more than 400%, greatly increasing the chances of being found and rescued.
 
  • Carl Freeman is already well-known for his urban farming efforts and has proposed an online peer-to-peer network that could revolutionise both the distribution of excess produce and utilisation of idle resources. By taking a hyper-local approach to marketing, the service will foster fast, fresh, and sustainable food delivery while building neighbourhood networks.
 
  • The difficulty of accessing comprehensive and consistent maintenance information for critical systems on large industrial sites prompted Alex Wishart to devise a disruptive software solution. His site safety functionality app will coordinate critical information affordably and across a range of devices and users, ultimately increasing the level of safety in these complex workplaces. 
 
  • Mikaera and Julie Tewhata lived in France for 14 years and fell in love with its food and the culture surrounding it. Returning to New Zealand, they have created a range of charcuterie – prepared meat product - recipes that tastily blend the social and culinary traditions of French cuisine with the distinctive flavours of home, made with no additives and all the passion of their French influences.
For those that didn’t make the cut this year, Venture Taranaki offers free one-hour Business Start-Up clinics in New Plymouth, Stratford and Hawera, as well as a range of business advisory services, while the generous sponsors of Idea Summit are also offering discounted packages and programmes to help ideas progress.
 
“We’ve had two ideas that were unsuccessful last year make it through to the Academy this year, so it’s worth continuing to work on good ideas,” Justine said. 
 
“Taranaki is a great place to turn ideas into successful enterprises, and while winning Idea Summit will help that happen a little faster than otherwise, there’s still plenty of support for people with good ideas.”
 
“We’re really excited about the support Idea Summit has received again this year, in terms of sponsorship and entries. It really seems to have captured the imagination of the region!”
 
Follow the progress of the finalists over the next ten weeks as they move towards start-up on the Idea Summit Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/taranakiideasummit
 
The overall winner will be announced at a finals event on Wednesday 14 August 2019.