Christchurch businesses eyeing expansion into global markets are finding success with the help of a local business growth programme and for one businesses, this resulted in a Hollywood endorsement.
Less than two years ago when Christchurch entrepreneur Brianne West attended the Hi-Growth Launch Programme the fledgling company, which specialises in solid beauty bars made from naturally-derived, sustainable ingredients, was crowd-funding to raise capital.
The business was going through significant change, so for Brianne West upskilling on strategy and planning was timely.
“There are so many opportunities out there that you can lose track of what you really want to achieve. The programme helped me to plan better and evaluate things based on their merits.
“Now I’ve identified that New Zealand and the US are my major markets I am channelling my efforts there.”
Ethique has also attracted some high-profile supporters including US actor Ashton Kutcher, resulting in a 435 per cent spike in sales last year.
West was named in a list of the US Foreign Policy magazine’s 100 leading “Global Thinkers” of 2016 – the only New Zealander among them.
When MyClientGlobal.com Ltd Business Development Manager Josh Flores attended the Hi-Growth Launch Programme last year, the software development company was at a crossroads.
The core business of MyClientGlobal.com is providing and supporting customer to access online-backup systems, but the business stepped up a notch in 2016 when it developed its own user-friendly backup system ‘Comet’.
“We were still developing the Comet system when I went on the programme so it was hugely helpful to get feedback on the product. We were also looking at how to expand more globally, and were considering an unsolicited approach by a UK investor. I think the mentoring I got on the programme gave me the confidence to handle that growth opportunity,” Flores said.
MyClientGlobal.com is now available in 24 countries and nine languages. The company eventually teamed up with the overseas investor and has distribution partners in the UK and Netherlands.
Linewize is a Christchurch-based company which is also experiencing global success with its technology for schools. The software which helps monitor and control children’s Internet usage is found in more than 250 schools in New Zealand and 30 countries around the world, including a university in Botswana.
CEO Scott Noakes attended the programme in 2014 where he was mentored by serial entrepreneur and local businessman Peter Montgomery. He maintained a relationship with Mr Montgomery who has continued to provide mentoring and support.
Linewize has recently made inroads into the challenging US market, securing a reseller to promote its products in schools.
Last year, Linewize received new investment funding from the Punakaiki Fund to accelerate sales in international markets and increase New Zealand market share.
With applications for the 2017 Hi-Growth Launch Programme closing on 7 February Scott Noakes recommends anyone thinking about applying to give it a go.
“There’s huge value in the programme, not just the knowledge and advice you gain, but also the connections and relationships you build with other participants and the mentors. Give it a go – you won’t look back”.
The Hi-Growth Launch Programme is a free workshop-based course provided by Canterbury Development Corporation. The workshops are delivered weekly over a three-month period and provides owners and senior managers of expanding local companies with guidance and mentoring from successful New Zealand business people and entrepreneurs.
Applications for the 2017 intake close on 7 February 2017.
The programme will run from 27 March to 28 June 2017.
For more information and to apply visit www.higrowthlaunch.com