The search for the next agritech superstars continues! It’s been non-stop for the Sprout team with 65 applicants registering for the programme from across the country This blew the initial target of 30 right out of the water. The Sprout team whittled the applicants down to 22 who attended a 20-minute interview with the Selection Committee on the 27-28 of October in Palmerston North. These 22 were chosen by addressing key questions directly via phone and email using an assessment framework inspired by current approaches used by many early stage investors both in New Zealand and overseas.
“One of the main things we are focusing on in our selection process is the people themselves. We want to find the ones who we think have strong leadership qualities and have capable teams behind them, who we believe can really get their businesses off the ground,” says James Bell-Booth, Sprout Programme Manager. With that in mind, the Selection Committee were drawn together from different areas of the country to bring a range of views and expertise to the process. The 2015 Sprout Selection Committee includes the following members:
- Alex Wong; Investment Manager, NZTE
- Anastacia Harlen; Education Project Manager, NZ Young Farmers
- Bill Murphy; Executive Director, Enterprise Angels
- Dion Cawood; Innovation & Transformation Advisor, LIC
- Emma Blott; General Manager, Science and technology, Fonterra
- Mark Harris; Marketing Manager, Gallagher
- Mike Hanna; Investment Manager, NZTE
- Stephen McPhail; Investment Manager, BCC
The tough job of finding the top eight rested on the shoulders of this committee along with support from the Sprout team. It took just over a week to finalise the top eight, so look out for this announcement on Sprout’s website next week. The first block course will be held at the end of November with each participant being flown to Palmerston North. The two day course will take place at BCC and will focus on market validation and international markets. The eight will work through a series of workshops as well as hearing from several guest speakers. They will then continue to work remotely until the next block course in Ashburton in December.
“There are a lot of advantages in offering our programme remotely and allowing entrepreneurs to continue operating in their own regions while working with us. That’s one of the things that makes Sprout unique,” says James.
We are proud to announce that Air New Zealand has agreed to support the programme. Their support is greatly appreciated and we look forward to sharing more details soon.