The winners of the DigMyIdea Maori Innovation Challenge have been announced, and the a diverse group includes a financial education software program, an app that encourages people to socialise with their friends in real life, and a digital consultancy for small and medium companies.
DigMyIdea was launched earlier this year, with the aim of encouraging New Zealand’s top emerging entrepreneurs. Budding business owners were asked to submit a digital business idea that had the potential to go global.
More than 130 people entered DigMyIdea, submitting almost 100 ideas ranging from apps and web initiatives, to ways to enhance or add digital elements to a more traditional business, product or process.
DigMyIdea entrants were required to outline a digital business idea with a focus on economic outcomes for Māori, and economic outcomes that may include opportunities for New Zealanders to earn incomes, create new business or export.
The top five entries in the two event categories – 19 years and over (‘mauri tū’) and 15-18 years (‘mauri oho’) – took part in DIGIwānanga, a weekend of workshops held at Manukau Institute of Technology in Auckland on 21-22 November.
The finalists received advice and mentoring to further develop and refine their ideas before presenting their final pitches to a panel of judges.
Brittany Teei, Ngai Tahu of Grey Lynn, won the mauri tū category, pitching KidsCoin, which is a software program that teaches successful money management skills to students.
Teei says, “DigMyIdea has been amazing. The opportunity to work with the mentors over the weekend and get their perspective on my idea was what I was most excited about.
“I’ve already got some improvements to my idea that I’m really looking forward to implementing – I’m really excited to get back to work and launching KidsCoin.”
Two ideas were selected as joint winners in the mauri oho category, Hang - an app which encourages users to socialise with their friends in real life pitched by Josh Arnold, Ngā Puhi of Takapuna, and Kokiri Digital - a digital consultancy for small and medium companies pitched by Winirangi Nicholas, Ripeka Nicholas and Tainakore Tapiata, Ngāti Ranginui, from Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Kura Kōkiri in Tauranga.
The winning teams and individuals will receive prizes comprising a business start-up services package and support to the value of $10,000, tailored to their needs in order to help turn their ideas into reality, and technology packages from Dick Smith and 2Degrees.
Antony Royal, Chair of Ngā Pū Waea, the National Māori Broadband Working Group, says competition organisers are ‘thrilled’ with ideas submitted, in particular those of the competitors that took part in DIGIwānanga.
“The standard of ideas that we received for DigMyIdea was really impressive. The work that the finalists put into their ideas and the calibre of the final pitches made the judges’ job very difficult.
“To be selected out of a group of more than 130 entrepreneurs is no small feat. Now the journey starts for these people to turn their ideas into a business with global potential, and we’re looking forward to helping them along the way and watching them succeed,” says Royal.