Six top class Kiwi SMEs battled out for the inaugural $50,000 Westpac Growth Grant last week, with Auckland based tourism company Haka Tours wowing the judges and walking away with the giant cheque.
See how the day unfolded for the six businesses pitching to the panel for the $50,000 Business Growth Grant investment. The panel included Kathryn Wilson (Designer) Josh Daniell (Snowball Effect), Peter Townsend (Canterbury Chamber of Commerce), Michael Barnett (Auckland Chamber of Commerce) and Karen Silk (Westpac GM Commercial, Corporate & Institutional).
A wealth of opportunities
Ryan Sanders, founder of Haka Tours, was incredibly excited about the opportunities this cash injection will allow, with $10,000 of the prize to go towards advertising and the rest to spend on the business.
“There’s so much stuff we can be utilising with that money and set some wheels in motion for some really really exciting products. We’re over the moon.”
The final stage of the award process involved a nerve-racking 15 minute pitch to the panel of judges.
“Coming out of the presentation I felt like I’d been through the ringer,” Ryan said. “Some quite stiff questions and I was obviously optimistic and had my fingers crossed, but they were a tough crowd with some tough questions.”
A new approach to tourism
Since launching in 2007, Haka Tours have been giving tourists to New Zealand the trip of a lifetime on small group guided tours, with a goal to “blur the line between traditional group tours and independent travelling”.
Karen says Haka Tours stood out for its clearly articulated vision for investment and planned extension to its business, with Ryan saying his next goals are to grow it to a $25m business by 2020, and listing on the NZX within the next 10 years.
Here’s the video Haka Tours made as part of the entry into the Growth Grant competition:
5 day business retreat in Fiji
All six of the finalists, whittled down from over 400 entries, have been invited to a Nurture Change Business Retreat.
Held at the 5-star Intercontinental Golf and Spa Resort on November 11-15, speakers include:
Sir Graham Henry
Dan Khan, start-up expert and founder of The Lightning Lab
Victoria Crone, Managing Director of Xero
Sam Hazeldine, winner of Young Entrepreneur of the Year, the Sir Peter Blake Leadership Award and owner of Medrecruit
Karl Dwight, a PWC partner specialising in exit strategies
Craig Donaldson, CEO of KEA
Meet the other finalists
Check out short descriptions and the entry videos of the other finalists: