From A. J. Hackett’s Bungy jump to Ernest Godward’s eggbeater, we Kiwis have been using 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 in here in New Zealand, and overseas. They prove that the entrepreneurial spirit starts young and that the future is looking bright for New Zealand business landscape.
1. Latesha Randall – Co-founder, Raglan Coconut Yoghurt
Latesha is one of the four Kiwis to make it on to this year’s Forbes ’30 under 30′ list for the Asia Pacific region, as a co-founder of the popular Raglan Coconut Yogurt brand. After finding out about her partner’s dairy allergies, Latesaha hit the kitchen and started experimenting 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, as well as 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 & Nicholas Harlow – Co-founders, Berkano Foods
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, as well as 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 & Tim Burrows – Co-founder, Wise Boys
Young entrepreneurs Luke Burrows and brother Tim, are the founders of 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, home-made burger patties wrapped in zero waste fully-compostable packaging, and 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, they 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
Hailing from Timaru, Logan Williams is a young inventor who at the age of 24 has already developed and successfully exited four revolutionary inventions. These include Polar Optics – polarized contact lenses to treat photosensitive epilepsy, a system to destroy methane gas produced in farms, and a biodegradable material that is made from didymo, the invasive river weed that plagues South Canterbury waterways.
“My passion is probably to create companies with a purpose.”Logan
Logan has received a lot of well deserved recognition for his inventions, including a National Merit Award at the Eureka Science and Innovation Competition.
Currently, Logan works as the director of technology and innovation at the New Zealand Merino Company where he is leading the R&D portfolio that is developing novel uses for low-value strong wool.
5. Nina Darrah – Founder, I Used To Be
Sick of seeing hundreds of inflatable pool toys ending up in the landfill 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, Motion Sickness
From a dingy Dunedin flat, Sam Stuchbury and fellow Otago University alumni Alex McManus and Jono De Alwis, established Motion Sickness, a creative agency that 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 a range of 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 of its kind in New Zealand, working with 350 different brands and 3,500 influencers to collaborate on a new generation of advertising campaigns.
7. Kyle Ratana – Co-founder, Green Aura Nature’s Medicine
In 2019, Kyle Ratana, along with 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 which 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’s resources and modern Rongoa Maori techniques to produce healing salves, rubs, face oils, and natural medicines.
8. Jamie Beaton & Sharndre Kushor – Co-founders, Crimson Education
Founded in 2013 by then-teenaged co-founders Jamie Beaton and Sharndre Kushor, Crimson Education has become a well-known example in New Zealand start-up scene. Their organisation helps thousands of students from around the world gain admission into the school of their dreams. Think Ivy Leagues, Stanford, Oxford, Cambridge, and MIT.
Crimson Education has received a range of awards and media recognition for their contribution 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, Top That! and Wrapt
Brooke and Olivia Moore, are two young entrepreneurs from Tauhara College in Taupō that were recognised at the 2019 YES National Awards for their sustainability-focused businesses. Top That! has developed a range of 100% vegan, all-organic range meal toppers to liven up otherwise bland meals, while Wrapt is all about creating better plastic wrap alternatives.
The girls are both definitely ones to watch and were recently awarded funds through The Global Kaitiakitanga Project to help them continue developing their businesses.
10. Rebecca Marie – Founder, Purpose Swimwear
Another winner from the 2019 YES National Awards, Rebecca Marie is an up and coming entrepreneur who developed her first brand, Purpose Swimwear, while still at school. Her company produces sustainable women’s swimwear made from plastic waste such as bottles, bags and fishing nets collected in the oceans. Purpose Swimwear designs are made to fit a diverse range of bodies and styles and are built to last. Currently studying Commerce part-time at Victoria University, Rebecca uses the power of social media to help promote her brand.