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Category winners named in Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards
The five category winners in the 2008 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards were announced today.
Each of the category winners has successfully created and developed innovative businesses which have been successful in their chosen markets. The five category winners will now compete for the overall title of Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year.
Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Category winners for 2008 are:
Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards Director Jon Hooper said the calibre of this year’s category winners was exceptionally high, and each of the winners has shown a dedicated commitment to achieving success as an entrepreneur and demonstrated a long-term vision for their business.
“The Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards is an important opportunity to acknowledge the accomplishments of entrepreneurs and celebrate the contribution they are making to New Zealand’s economy and society,” he said.
“This year’s award entries demonstrate that the Kiwi entrepreneurial spirit is alive across a diverse range of industries, which is fantastic to see.
“We wish each of the category winners all the very best over the next few weeks as the independent judging panel selects the overall winner, and in the future as they continue to grow and develop their businesses.”
Chairman of the judging panel, David Johnson (chief executive of Trends Publishing and the inaugural Er nst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year in 1998) said each of the category winners has shown an intense ambition and determination.
“Once again I have been inspired by the passion, drive and perseverance of each of this year’s category winners. The Awards give New Zealanders the chance to celebrate and highlight their achievements.”
New Zealand’s 2008 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year will be announced at an award banquet on Thursday 23 October 2008. The overall winner will represent New Zealand at the Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards in Monte Carlo in May 2009.
The 2008 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards judging panel comprises:
Brett Henderson – Holdfast NZ Limited
In 1983, Brett Henderson was bored. As a sales rep for an adhesive firm his interest in going through the daily motions on someone else’s behalf had come unstuck. Being out on the road so much, however, had given him insight into an expanding ‘do it yourself’ craze. Rather than rock the boat with his employer, he asked permission to test a few ideas before making any move into his own venture.
By night, Brett and wife Jenny (who is currently CFO of Holdfast) would fill small bottles of glue from 20 litre drums and transfer bulk nails into smaller packages. In his own time he’d deliver these to supermarkets and, before he knew it, his Holdfast business was born.
The company now employs a staff of 73—including 20 sales reps. Major brands such as Gorilla Grip and Fix All—along with 2500 other offerings—now grace supermarket shelves, Building Merchants, The Warehouse and other outlets. With his penchant for making a big business out of the small things in life, it is likely every builder, or do-it-yourselfer in New Zealand, owes it to Holdfast to make things stick.
His early embr acing of smart IT also helped to save the day. Commissioning a software package that relies on bar coding for managing every step of every transaction means the company’s processes are totally electronic. Cost reductions, stock tracking, efficient use of warehousing and near perfect order fulfilment have clearly kept customers glued to Brett’s business.
Mark Taylor – FrameCAD Solutions Limited
Mark Taylor happily accepts the label Man of Steel—reference to his business resolve, his focus plus his determination to globally transform the building industry towards the use of light gauge steel in construction.
In a building industry somewhat obsessed with traditional methods and a culture of 4x2’s, Mark has carved out a sizeable niche for steel by wearing two complimentary CEO hats. His FrameCAD business is built on offering a global building solution which delivers innovative design and manufacture of steel framing for rapid construction of residential and commercial buildings. FrameCAD’s international success has come on the back of a solid foundation of 20 years of activity in steel based building materials through Bon Pacific Trading.
This ability to integrate design and engineering software with the supply and manufacturing side of the building process has seen the two companies win friends and contracts around the globe. Customer satisfaction and the ability to extract greater value from the overall supply chain have allowed the two entities to build global revenue streams —with funds put to good use in research & development and investments to continue building a presence in new markets and territories.
FrameCAD’s rapid design and manufacturing technology was the point of difference for a recent hospitality project with an extremely tight deadline in Dubai. Using FrameCAD innovation technology the local staff that had undergone FrameCAD training were able to design and fabricate the 10,000 sqm entertainment facility and be up and running in just 19 days.
With offices in NZ, USA, UAE and Australia the combined businesses employ 50 staff plus additional 60 sub-contractors. No surprises, then, that Mark’s creations have become two of New Zealand’s fastest growing, most innovative and forward thinking export companies that have been recognised by the Air New Zealand Auckland Export Awards.
Miles Valentine – Zeacom Limited
Keeping communication human
In describing his approach to Unified Communications (UC) software systems, one technology writer rejoiced that “Luckily the guys at Zeacom know how to present their business properly. Zeacom Communications Centre (ZCC) 5.0 does much of the same stuff as Microsoft’s offering but it presents it so dramatically better that it might as well be from a different world.”
Miles started his foray into computer telephony integration software development with the launch of Zeacom in 1994. His aim was to make the ‘business’ of communication better – better for users and “recipients”. . For starters, Zeacom created a user friendly Call Center solution that allowed anyone in small enterprises through to large corporations to better handle enquiries and general points of contact. Over time additional elements and improvements were added culminating in the creation of ZCC 5.0.
This ‘flagship’ system is a carefully planned integration of all Zeacom’s products into one unified and integrated offer to capture a rapidly growing market need for ‘unified communications’. With the click of a mouse and stroke of a keyboard or mobile phone pad everyone’s status, presence, or availability within an organisation can be established—it can be determined if someone is away working, travelling on business, on holiday, in conference, working from home or simply away from their desk, and just as importantly, when they will be back.
It seems that maintaining a little bit more of a human touch has won the company both friends, plaudits and customers. Not just in ‘home base’ New Zealand but in sizeable export markets. One year after the ZCC 5.0 launch Zeacom’s systems were available in 24 countries to add to their base of 2800 systems worldwide. Again, success has come not just through the power of the software developed but also because of the passion and drive Miles’ team put into their daily activities.
That is why, some eight years ago, Miles and his family relocated to Southern California to manage the company’s US growth before returning home last year.
WINNER: Master Entrepreneur:
Michael Hill – Michael Hill International Limited
Many strings to his bow
You could say concert violinist, world window dressing champion, golf course owner, luxury shipping magnate, motivational speaker, restaurant franchise owner and deer farmer but the minute you hear “Hello Michael Hill” one profession stands out. Jeweller.
And, of course, entrepreneur. Few people anywhere, but especially Whangarei in the 1950s, leave school at 16 to become a concert violinist. At the New Zealand Herald Violin Competition a year later, he failed to win. He was told to forego the bow and take up watch making in the family jewellery business owned by his uncle.
He lasted 3 months watch making but stayed for 23 years—as a salesman and later manager of the shop.
Any one of his cornucopia of business activities lends itself to story-telling, but his path from small town/small shop owner to international jewellery legend is a good place to start.
The watershed moment of entering the ‘big time’ came when, literally, Michael was watching his house go up in flames. He says the thought flashed firmly in his mind that he should make an offer to buy out the family business. Though near penniless after the fire, he found a backer who was willing to put up the necessary capital. His uncle, however, didn’t share in the vision and refused the offer. Undaunted, Michael opened up a smaller and less grand shop in competition. Within 18 months he was outstripping his uncle’s more-establis hed operation.
The simple U-shaped layout and accessible product range set the framework for much bigger takings. He reached 7 shops in 7 years so decided to aim for 70 more in the next 7. Currently the chain has 212 stores—138 in Australia, 52 in New Zealand and 22 in Canada. The aim is to reach the 1,000 level by 2024 by going truly global.
WINNER: Young Entrepreneur Category
Anthony Gadsdon – Mix Limited
Where everyday is a good hair day
The only thing Anthony Gadsdon’s first entrepreneurial foray (as a water blaster at age 13) and his current incarnation as a hair wax and shampoo doyen share in common is H2O. Perhaps his second venture—Original Boxers whereby he got the contract to outfit fellow Auckland Grammar athletes—exposed him to the business of looking good.
His passion, however, was to follow his early ‘roots’ and grow something of his own with more ‘edge and attitude’. He identified his opportunity with current business partner and former hair salon owner Shane Young. They were fixed upon a hard-hold hair wax that would be salon quality and youth male focussed. True to their ambitions they dubbed their wax Dominate.
In keeping with the brand swagger, they priced their wax at 30% more than the leading competitor at the time. They set up their manufacturing base at the back of Shane’s Ponsonby barber shop and used an extended credit card limit of $6,000 to fund the operation.
With that limited amount the price tag of $25,000 for equipment to pump wax into containers looked to have dashed their plans. That is until an engineering friend created one for $200—it still works fine.
One such moment allowed a new area of focus to develop an organic Primal Earth range. Today Mix sells these two brands to 3,200 retail outlets, across 24 retail banners, in New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom.
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About the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards
Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year is the world’s most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs. The award makes a difference through the unique way it encourages entrepreneurial activity among those with potential and recognises the contribution of people who inspire others with their vision, leadership and achievement. As the first and only truly global award of its kind, Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year celebrates those who are building and leading successful, growing and dynamic businesses, recognising them through regional, national and global awards programmes in more than 135 cities in 50 countries.
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