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Startup Dunedin launches Challenger competition for promising up-and-comers

22 Jun 2018

Promising Dunedin startups could be in with a chance to learn from the best – and get $65,000 worth of services for their efforts.

Startup Dunedin has launched the Challenger Series this week, which will provide three top startups the $65k services and a place in a four-month coaching series led by some of New Zealand’s top companies.

Up to 20 finalists will be selected from the ‘challenging’ application process and they must pitch their ideas to a panel of local entrepreneurs.

The judges will then select three startups to begin the four-month programme and become investor-ready.

Startup Dunedin chairperson Sarah Ramsay says the competition will help build on Dunedin’s economic success, and to help the city’s top entrepreneurs fast-track their business ideas.

“Startups are an important contributor to the future economy of the city, creating jobs across all sectors. Even now, Startup Dunedin is supporting innovations in everything from physical products to the gaming industry, software as a service and artificial intelligence.”

The coaching sessions will feature the likes of Deloitte, Startup Dunedin, Gallaway Cook Allan, and a range of local and global entrepreneurs.

Deloitte partner Mike Horne says Deloitte has always recognised startups as critical to New Zealand’s economy. The company hosts the Fast 50 programme.

“Now being able to further support pre-seed start-ups through the Challenger Series is a natural fit for us,” Horne continues.

Industry and Government representatives have collaborated to establish the Challenger Series. This includes Enterprise Dunedin (part of Dunedin City Council), Grow Dunedin Partners, Startup Dunedin, Creative HQ, Callaghan Innovation, Deloitte and Gallaway Cook Allan.

Behind the scenes, Enterprise Dunedin’s economic development programme manager Fraser Liggett says startups are integral to boosting Dunedin as a city by providing employment and increasing incomes.

“Enterprise Dunedin and Grow Dunedin Partners are pleased to be working with the start-up community and supporting this initiative. We are sure Challenger will be a success and hope the winners of this competition could be among our leading innovative export companies in the future,” Liggett comments.

Gallaway Cook Allan has a history working with Dunedin’s most innovative companies that stretches as far back to Otago’s founding, comments CEO Matt Gorman.

“Like they have in the past, start-ups will also be our city’s future. Through the Challenger Series, we will get in-front of start-up journeys earlier, allowing us to lend our expertise, experience and understanding to tomorrow’s leaders," Gorman adds.

Applications are open through Startup Dunedin’s website. Entries close on 7 July. The three winners will be announced by 31 July.

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