10 Young Entrepreneurs Making Waves in New Zealand

From A. J. Hackett’s Bungy Jump to Ernest Godward’s Eggbeater, we Kiwis have used our “can-do attitude” and out-of-the-box thinking to invent s…

From A. J. Hackett’s Bungy Jump to Ernest Godward’s Eggbeater, we Kiwis have used our “can-do attitude” and out-of-the-box thinking to invent stuff since way back. These 10 young, successful entrepreneurs are no exception. All aged 30 or under, our hand-picked selection of budding inventors and business people are just a few of the many Kiwis making waves here in New Zealand and overseas. They prove that the entrepreneurial spirit starts young, and the future looks bright for the New Zealand business landscape.

1. Latesha Randall, co-founder of Raglan Coconut Yoghurt

10 Young Entrepreneurs Making Waves in New Zealand
Latesha Randall

Latesha Randall is one of the four Kiwis to make it onto this year’s Forbes ’30 under 30′ list for the Asia Pacific region as a co-founder of the popular Raglan Coconut Yoghurt brand. After discovering her partner’s dairy allergies, Latesaha hit the kitchen and started experimenting with coconut-based yoghurt recipes. Since then, she has grown her line to include seven different coconut yoghurt flavours, which are available in 500 stores nationwide and in Singapore, Hong Kong, and the Pacific Islands.

As well as making the Forbes list, Raglan Coconut Yoghurt has won the Gourmet and People’s Choice categories in the 2015 NZ Food Awards and the Micro Business category in the 2016 Westpac Waikato Business Awards.

2. Britteny Bryan and Nicholas Harlow, co-founders of Berkano Foods

Britteny Bryan and Nicholas Harlow
Britteny Bryan and Nicholas Harlow

Also, members of the Forbes list of young entrepreneurs, Britteny Bryan and Nicholas Harlow, founded Berkano Foods, a plant-based ready-to-eat meal manufacturer, in 2017. This Christchurch-based company was the first of its kind in New Zealand and now has over 200 healthy, vegan, and cruelty-free meals in its gourmet range, all made and produced locally. Favourites include butter chicken, rigatoni bolognese, and golden peanut satay tofu, all made using plant-based ingredients instead of meat. These frozen meals can be found in supermarkets across New Zealand and through their online shop.

Berkano has won several awards, most recently the Champion Producer/Manufacturer for Small Enterprise at the 2019 Westpac Champion Business Awards

3. Luke and Tim Burrows, co-founders of Wise Boys

10 Young Entrepreneurs Making Waves in New Zealand

Young entrepreneurs Luke Burrows and Tim founded Wise Boys, a plant-based burger truck. As well as proving that vegan food is just as delicious, their goal has been to build an F&B brand that is as sustainable as possible. They produce 100% plant-based, homemade burger patties wrapped in zero-waste, fully compostable packaging. They even built their first food truck using scrap iron, pallets, and other second-hand materials.

“We wanted to establish a food business that was as sustainable as possible, building the vegan burger shack of our dreams. Our mission was to show plant-based food can be delicious and a little bit indulgent”.

Wiseboys

In 2019 Wise Boys opened their first permanent outlet in Auckland’s Grey Lynn. Among their many accolades, Wise Boys won a silver medal in the 2019 Outstanding NZ Food Producers Award and was a finalist in the 2018 Sustainable Business Network Awards.

4. Logan Williams, Director of Technology & Innovation, The New Zealand Merino Company

10 Young Entrepreneurs Making Waves in New Zealand

Hailing from Timaru, Logan Williams is a young inventor who, at the age of 24, has already developed and successfully executed four revolutionary inventions. These include Polar Optics – polarised contact lenses to treat photosensitive epilepsy, a system to destroy methane gas produced in farms, and a biodegradable material that is made from didymo. This invasive river weed plagues South Canterbury waterways.

“My passion is probably to create companies with a purpose.”

– Logan

Logan has received much well-deserved recognition for his inventions, including a National Merit Award at the Eureka Science and Innovation Competition.

Logan is the director of technology and innovation at the New Zealand Merino Company, leading the R&D portfolio that is developing novel uses for low-value, strong wool.

5. Nina Darrah, Founder, I Used To Be

10 Young Entrepreneurs Making Waves in New Zealand
Nina Darrah

Sick of seeing hundreds of inflatable pool toys ending up in landfills each summer, Nina Darrah founded I Used To Be, a company that gives these unwanted plastic floaties a second life. From floating flamingos to doughnut rings, Nina uses the sturdy PVC plastic from these broken or discarded pool toys to create one-of-a-kind collections of waterproof beach bags, purses, and carryalls, all from her dad’s garage in Auckland.

Nina got her start in local markets and has now launched a full online store where, due to popularity, items are sold at a limited rate.

6. Sam Stuchbury, co-founder of Motion Sickness

10 Young Entrepreneurs Making Waves in New Zealand
Sam Stuchbury

Our list of young entrepreneurs would not be complete without mentioning Sam Stuchbury and fellow Otago University alumni Alex McManus and Jono De Alwis, who established Motion Sickness from a dingy Dunedin flat. This creative agency has quickly built a reputation as a world-class advertising and design studio. They have worked with several well-known brands, such as Blunt Umbrellas, Burger Burger, Les Mills, and Jim Beam, creating cutting-edge strategies across various advertising mediums.

In 2016, Motion Sickness branched out and co-founded The Social Club, an agency that connects brands with social media influencers. The Social Club is the largest in New Zealand, working with 350 brands and 3,500 influencers to collaborate on a new generation of advertising campaigns.

7. Kyle Ratana, co-founder of Green Aura Nature’s Medicine

In 2019, Kyle Ratana and a family friend founded Green Aura Nature’s Medicines, a uniquely Kiwi business that makes and sells traditional Māori medicines online. Kyle got his start partly thanks to the Prince’s Trust, an organisation run by Prince Charles that aims to support 18- to 30-year-old Kiwi entrepreneurs. Kyle was part of the pilot programme and used the skills and mentoring provided to take the leap and finally set up his own business.

Green Aura uses ingredients ethically sourced from native New Zealand resources and modern Rongoa Maori techniques to produce healing salves, rubs, face oils, and natural medicines.

8. Jamie Beaton & Sharndre Kushor, co-founders of Crimson Education

10 Young Entrepreneurs Making Waves in New Zealand
Jamie Beaton & Sharndre Kushor

Founded in 2013 by then-teenaged co-founders Jamie Beaton and Sharndre Kushor, Crimson Education has become a well-known example in the New Zealand start-up scene. Their organisation helps thousands of students worldwide gain admission into the school of their dreams. Think Ivy Leagues, Stanford, Oxford, Cambridge, and MIT.

Crimson Education has received various awards and media recognition for contributing to the business scene. They were ranked number three in the 2017 Deloitte Fast 50 list with 1005% annual growth, featured on Forbes and the BBC, and last year won New Zealand’s Young Enterprise Scheme Emerging Alumni Award.

9. Brooke & Olivia Moore, co-founders of Top That! and Wrapt

10 Young Entrepreneurs Making Waves in New Zealand
Brooke & Olivia Moore

Brooke and Olivia Moore are two young entrepreneurs from Tauhara College in Taupō who were recognised at the 2019 YES National Awards for their sustainability-focused businesses. Top That! has developed a range of 100% vegan, all-organic meal toppers to liven up otherwise bland meals, while Wrapt is all about creating better plastic wrap alternatives.

The girls are both definitely to watch, and they were recently awarded funds through the Global Kaitiakitanga Project to help them continue developing their businesses.

10. Rebecca Marie, Founder, Purpose Swimwear

10 Young Entrepreneurs Making Waves in New Zealand

Another 2019 YES National Awards winner, Rebecca Marie, is an up-and-coming young entrepreneur who developed her first brand, Purpose Swimwear, while still in school. Her company produces sustainable women’s swimwear from plastic waste such as bottles, bags, and fishing nets collected in the oceans. Purpose Swimwear designs are made to fit diverse bodies and styles and are built to last. Rebecca, who is currently studying commerce part-time at Victoria University, uses the power of social media to help promote her brand.

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