The Board

Derek Walker


Derek is an experienced company director and senior executive who has led major transformational change initiatives within several organisations. He has been involved in the negotiation and implementation of many major projects, as well as mergers and acquisitions. Derek is the former chief executive of Centralpower Limited. Derek’s directorships include Quotable Value NZ, Chairman of the Palmerston North Airport Company and Chairman of NZ Windfarms Limited.

Michael Ahie, BBS (Hons), M Inst D


Michael is a business owner and company director based in Wellington. He is the chief executive and a founding partner of Shirlaws New Zealand Limited. Michael has broad international business and governance experience with multinational companies. He held senior roles with Toyota New Zealand Ltd, the New Zealand Dairy Board and Wrightson Ltd. He is Chairman of Plant and Food Research Ltd, and a director of a number of companies including Farmers Mutual Group, Manawatu Investment Group Ltd and Clearwater Ltd. Of Taranaki, Nga Ruahine and Ngati Ruanui descent, Michael lives in Wellington, with his wife and their two sons.

Steve Maharey, CNZM, B.A., M.A (Hons)


Steve Maharey is the Vice-Chancellor of Massey University. Prior to this he was a Minister in Government for nine years, holding a number of positions including Minister of Education, Minister Responsible for the Education Review Office and the New Zealand Qualifications Authority, Minister of Research, Science and Technology, Minister Responsible for Crown Research Institutes, and several others.Prior to entering Parliament, Steve was a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Massey University. He was influential, through his teaching and publications, in the development of New Zealand sociology and formation of the fields of cultural studies and media studies in New Zealand.

Vicki Stewart



Vicki is a company director at Stewarts Electrical Supplies, a wholesale supplier to the electrical industry of New Zealand. She joined the company in 1987 as a working Director and has been an integral part of the company’s growth, seeing it morph from a single branch operation in Palmerston North to a multi-branch, multi-company organisation employing over 130 people today. Vicki has been Chairperson of Powerbase New Zealand and is a current member of the Powerbase Executive and Marketing committee.

Murray Georgel

Murray has held senior leadership roles in diverse sectors, including as the CEO of MidCentral District Health Board, a position he held for 15 years. Murray has also developed governance experience across several organisations. In addition to being chairman of CalfSmart, Murray is also chairman of Palmerston North Airport.

What's Up

MIG Fund Two Ready to Launch!

mig logoBCC is excited to be launching MIG Fund Two, our second fund which plans to invest in around 20 early stage companies over its lifetime. The start-ups invested in by the fund will be focused locally around the Manawatu region, but will also come from other parts of the country, especially with access to our Sprout (Agritech accelerator) companies which come from all over New Zealand.

Mig Fund One, a million dollar fund launched back in 2011, has invested in 14 companies to date plus the Sprout Cohort (8 companies). Due to the riskier than average nature of a portfolio of this type, some of these companies inevitably failed. However, this has been more than offset by those which have been successful and are continuing to grow, such as BioLumic, Calfsmart, Booktrack, Aroa and CropX to name a few.

A central feature of the Fund is to provide an efficient mechanism for investors to gain exposure to a portfolio of early stage companies. This helps lower the risk of investing in only one or two start-ups and gives investors the chance to get away from business-as-usual and see new technology before anyone else.

Many MIG angel investors invest because they are helping to create a region that has interesting and innovative companies with higher value jobs. Sure, everyone hopes that at some point they invest in the next Trade Me or Xero, but along the way investors are growing the local and national economies.

In fact Angel investment activity has been steadily increasing its contribution to the New Zealand economy with angel networks and funds investing a record $61 million into 94 companies in 2015, up from only $21 million a decade ago according to the Angel Association New Zealand.

If you are interested in investing in start-up companies, now is a great time to get involved in MIG Fund Two. Please get in touch.

Sprout Moves Towards the Next Round

For the 2015 Sprout companies’ pitching isn’t over yet.  Sprout is hosting an investment showcase on 11 May in Hamilton. This showcase is to allow Corporate Partners and Supporters of Sprout and invited Investors to hear about the companies’ progress and consider them as an investment opportunity.

Here’s a quick update about what’s been happening in the last month for our companies:

-AgriTrack and Bee’z Thingz are currently completing investment rounds.

-AgTract and AgriTrack are growing their human capital, with both companies looking to add specialists to their teams.

-There was a total of 82 ‘indications of investment interest’ across the five teams who pitched at the Agribusiness Investment Showcase in March.

-Nature Matters Milk Co. has increased their per month revenue as a consequence of being part of the Sprout programme.

-One team is in discussions with a national go-to-market partner.

-Another team is in advanced discussions with a potential agritech corporate collaboration partner.


We have now opened early registrations for the 2016 Sprout programme. If you wish to talk to one of the Sprout team members about your agritech idea, you must register first. This is a non-binding registration but gives you access to our team’s skills and knowledge before we start the application process.

As part of generating awareness for the 2016 programme, certain Sprout team members have been out and about at industry events.

James Bell-Booth and Stu Bradbury attended the MobileTech Primary Industries event in Rotorua and presented the Sprout programme to attendees. This is a growing event focused on bringing agri-tech developers and partners together to discuss innovation in agritech.

Stu, and Bee’z Thingz founder Julian McCurdy, attended the Silicon Valley Forum on AgTech last week and saw some of the latest agritech in action. Look out for Stu’s blog this week on the Sprout website.

Here’s a few images of the agritech, Stu and Julian saw while at the Silicon Valley forum.