Still time for $1m challenge hopefuls

14 July 2010

An iconic clothing company, a production company and a healthcare business are some of those in the running for the $1million Entrepreneurs' Challenge.

Business School Dean Professor Greg Whittred says the University has received a steady stream of registrations from a variety of sectors since the Prime Minister the Hon John Key launched the Challenge on June 24.

"We've been impressed with the calibre of New Zealand businesses who have registered. They represent a good spread of business areas including retail, engineering, technology and tourism sectors."

New Zealand companies have six days to apply for a slice of the $1million fund so there is still time for others to apply, says Professor Whittred.

Entries close at 5pm on 19 July and winners will be announced in November.

The competition is aimed at New Zealand businesses with a proven track record, who want to expand into overseas markets rather than at start-ups, Professor Whittred says.

Launched last year, the Challenge grants loans on favourable terms to companies to help them expand their operations overseas and provides companies with mentoring from top business professionals and an increased profile in New Zealand and overseas.

The Entrepreneurs' Challenge was made possible because of a major $3 million gift from expatriate businessman Charles Bidwill who was associated with Ceramco and Baycorp in the 1980s and 1990s.

The Challenge supports the growth of promising small and medium-sized enterprises with an entrepreneurial psyche.

Last year's winners – coffee roasters Allpress Espresso, smart water meter technology developers Outpost Central, and hot water heating control technology company, Senztek – were picked from 108 companies, representing 40 different industries.

A seven-strong Investment Committee will decide which company or companies get funded.

Companies can register and download an application form from the Entrepreneurs' Challenge website.