The PoweringONPitch event will take place at the Bay of Plenty/Waikato Business Expo at ASB Baypark, Tauranga on the 7th March 2018 between 1.30pm and 3.30pm. It has been co-designed and delivered by Venture Centre, Jigsaw Solutions and SODA Inc.

Think your startup has what it takes to move the needle for New Zealand’s Small to Medium Enterprise owners?

Want to take your digital business to the next level?

The PoweringONPitch event brings together New Zealand’s best digital service providers focused on serving the small to medium enterprises (SME) in New Zealand for a live on-stage pitch.

It will take place at the Bay of Plenty/ Waikato Business Expo at ASB Baypark, Tauranga on the 7th March 2018 between 1.30pm and 3.30pm.

This two-hour event provides an opportunity for small business owners with a focus on B2B to pitch their business scaleup or new business initiatives, and gain feedback and input from expert judges.

The PoweringONPitch event, co-designed by Venture Centre, Jigsaw Solutions and Soda Inc., invites digital providers who are committed to moving the needle in terms of efficiency, automation, new markets, new products, use of new technologies for small business so that they thrive and grow. [Note: SME owners number more than 487,602 and represent 97 percent of all businesses in New Zealand. Together, small businesses employ 30 percent of New Zealand's working population and produce around 27 percent of New Zealand's Gross Domestic Product.]

Those selected to pitch will have the benefit of insights and guidance from experts with deep knowledge of the SME market, innovation and commercialisation, be in to win $2500 worth of domestic air travel and have the opportunity to apply for the SODA Incubation programme, delivered by Venture Centre in the Bay of Plenty and Soda Inc in the Waikato.

Who can pitch?

The PoweringONPitch event is open to technology businesses focused on serving small business owners in New Zealand. Applications to pitch are encouraged from businesses focusing on utilising Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, Blockchain, IoT, Space and Robotics, Biotech, Agtech, Healthtech, Virtual Reality, CleanEnergy and Cybersecurity technology to enhance, improve, protect and grow other businesses. Technology businesses must be less than 3 years old at the time of the competition (or under current ownership for less than 3 years) and have yet to be invested in through any formal Angel Group or Crowdfunding organisation.

How it works?

Applications are accepted via the form at the link below up until February 18th 2018.

All information provided will be considered confidential, commercial in confidence.

Six of the businesses who apply will get to present in front of a panel on March 7th 2018 in the afternoon of the Bay of Plenty/ Waikato Business Expo.

Successful applicants will receive notification during the week starting February 19th 2018.

Each digital provider will have five minutes to pitch their innovative product or service solution.

At the end of each pitch, the panel of judges will have five minutes to ask questions.

The winner will be announced on the day and conclude the event.


The panel will be comprised of judges, who are all high-level experts across diverse disciplines within technology and entrepreneurship and have deep insights in to small to medium sized enterprise market in New Zealand.

Judges will award up to 10 points in each of the following categories:

- Problem - clearly articulates a significant need, and the impact their solution will have

- Market - describes target customers and size of the market

- Innovation - creativity and inventiveness of the solution, product, or technology

- Feasibility - is the business model well developed, and is this team likely to create a successful venture?

- Delivery - was the pitch inspiring, passionate, and memorable?

- The winner will be announced on the day and conclude the PoweringONpitch event.

Confirmed Judges

Erin Wansborough


Erin has a passion for entrepreneurship and brings a depth of business experience and knowledge of commercialisation.

Most recently Erin has been working at Adherium, a New Zealand digital health business, addressing the problem of adherence to prescription medicine through the commercialisation of digital health technologies, where she held the position of Vice President, Business Development.

She is a Trustee on the board of NZ HighTech Business Awards and her experience in business innovation includes, having previously worked for Callaghan Innovation and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) where she had the opportunity to complete both the Entrepreneurship Development Program and the Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program at Massachusetts Institute of Technology – Sloan School of Management.Erin has also held senior management roles within Auckland UniServices, IMBcom, Genesis R&D Corporation, GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca and Life Technologies. Erin also holds a Masters of Science and a Post Graduate Diploma in Business Administration.

Tenby Powell

Hunter Powell Investment Partners

Tenby has held senior management positions in Fletcher Challenge and Skellerup Group, prior to forming Hunter Powell Investment Partners Ltd (HPIP) in 1999. To date, HPIP portfolio companies have included: PC Direct, EuroPacifc Foods, Nationwide Equipment Ltd, Power Plant Supplies Ltd, and Hirepool & NZ Rental Group.HPIP is the major non-institutional shareholder in the NZ Rental Group (Hirepool, Henderson Rentals, Rhodes Rentals, Port-a-Loo, Castles Marquee Hire, Barricading Solutions).

Tenby stepped down as CEO of the Group in Feb 2009 after leading its growth from 14 branches when purchased in 2003 to 86 business units some five years later. Today the Group has 94 business units and has grown during the GFC.

Tenby is the Chairman of Envoy 360 FZ LLC, (a New Zealand owned maritime security and risk management company); Chairman of Waikato Link Ltd (the commercialization and technology transfer company of the University of Waikato), Director of Antarctica New Zealand (a crown entity responsible for developing, managing and executing New Zealand Government activities in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean), Director & Trustee for the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust (Westpac Rescue Helicopter) and Director of Angel Link (a national angel investment network to back New Zealand high growth technology ventures, with an emphasis on life sciences, engineering and ICT).

In May 2009, Tenby Powell & Sharon Hunter co-Chaired the NZ Entrepreneurial Summit, designed to generate ideas to jump-step the economy during the GFC. Tenby has led high growth leveraged businesses since 1997 and has extensive M & A, company cultural development, marketing, communications & brand experience. Consequently he has established close working relationships with senior executives in the Banking and Finance Industry.

Debra Hall

Independent Director, Mentor & Adviser

Debra is an engineer by training, a marketer by profession, an entrepreneur with a successful exit from her own business, and is now an active angel investor, mentor and independent director. Her small portfolio of directorships is mainly focused on the young company space. In 2017, Debra was the AANZ Arch Angel Award for services to the start up community.


First prize for PoweringONPitch will be at least $2,500 in domestic flights around New Zealand to be taken in the year from March 2018 - March 2019 provided by Air New Zealand.

Opportunity to apply for the SODA Lift Incubation programme, delivered by Venture Centre in the Bay of Plenty and Soda Inc in the Waikato.

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