Recently Method Recycling were crowned the winners of the $50,000 Westpac Business Growth Grants, set up to help upcoming Kiwi businesses reach their potential.
Applications were open to SMEs that had been operating successfully (with a turnover of anywhere up to $5 million) and have a plan to grow it.
RadioLive Drive Time host Duncan Garner has co-founder Steve Korner on his show recently to talk about the win.
Listen to the audio of the interview, or read the transcription below.
Duncan Garner: A few months ago we were promoting this, along with Westpac, the $50,000 Westpac Business Growth Grant. Hundreds of people applied for this. This is the $40,000 in cash, $10,000 in advertising, and they also get taken to Fiji with all their business mentors and they learn a few things.
And the winner of the Westpac Growth Grant has been this Wellington based small business Method Recycling. Steve Corner is the co-founder (along with wife India). G’day Steve.
Steve Korner: G’day Duncan, how’re you doing?
DG: Yeah not too bad mate, welcome to the show. You must be pretty excited by this?
SK: Yeah no we are, we’re pretty excited. It came together pretty well and we had put a lot of work into it and to see it come about was pretty amazing.
DG: So what do you guys do?
SK: I come from a product design background, my wife comes from a graphic design background, and we wanted to tackle how waste is done in an office environment. So we came up with a product and a graphic language so hopefully would get the best kind of habit around recycling in the workplace.
DG: I’m still a bit confused. You’re into business recycling, recycling in the office?
SK: Yeah, we’ve come up with a bin that has a really good aesthetic so it can fit into an open plan office really well and look good. And we’ve come up with a way that shows which waste goes in which bin really effectively, so then hopefully that can drive better recycling rates.
DG: Oh I think we’ve got these in our office actually.
SK: You do indeed.
DG: So those are your ones?
SK: Yeah they are.
DG: Ah right. I’ve just chucked some fruit in one of them. I hope I got it in the right one. The people I’ve spoken to in the past who have won this $40k plus $10,000 marketing package, it changed their business. Gained a bit of capital, gained exposure.
SK: Yeah definitely we’re excited about it. We’re really pushing ourselves in terms of exporting, so Australia’s our main kind of market we’re targeting, so that $40k and $10k advertising will go a long way for us because we are quite a small business, but it will make a huge difference to us to be able to tackle the market effectively.
DG: Are we good at recycling in the workplace?
SK: We’re getting a lot better. We work with some pretty amazing businesses that have really driven recycling to an amazing degree. We work with one client who is a real success story, they went from a 50% diversion from landfill rate to 80% using our bins, so we’re driving that good behaviour by using our product, which is pretty amazing.
DG: Good, because we were nowhere near this 10-15 years ago. It’s been a very recent phenomenon in workplaces, hasn’t it?
SK: Yeah it has been, and it’s driven by the businesses themselves and the sustainable goals that they have. We find the businesses that are quite successful at it have core values around sustainability and how they operate.
DG: You’ve done well. So when are you off to Fiji with all the business mentors?
SK: Early November. It’s 5 days and we’re really looking forward to it.
DG: I bet. I was with Westpac running around the regions talking about this and it’s a really good chance to step away from your business and realise what you’re doing well and perhaps what you need to improve. It gives you a bit of space.
SK: Yeah exactly it gives you time to reflect and to really get to grips with the challenges you have, which you don’t really do on a day-to-day running your business.