Our 4 scholarship winners have been announced - see who is coming to Fiji...

Nurture Change and Fairfax have chosen their four winners in a competition to find Kiwi businesses who would benefit from a boost of advice and guidance at a special business retreat later this year.

Business coach Zac de Silva and partner Steve Pirie - the co-founders of Nurture Change Business retreats - had a tough task to choose four from scores of entries.

"The overall standard of the hundreds of applications were very high and it was great to see so many Kiwi businesses and business people doing well and having even higher aspirations," said De Silva.

"The 12 shortlisted finalists were all really successful go-getters who had achieved great things."

"Here we explain how we separated four from the rest."

GENERAL - Gareth Berry of Unleashed Software (pictured)

I know software pretty well thanks to my "day job" as a business coach and advisor. To have 52 staff in a NZ based software as a service company along with around 2,000 paying customers is very impressive. To be mentioned as a top 10 small business tool in the Huffington Post is awesome.

Unleashed Software is the best stock management SaaS system around according to my clients who use it. There is massive scope to expand in the 80 global locations that Unleashed is already operating in.

To be successful in a product based business, you need to have real time, transparent knowledge of what is happening in your business to both protect working capital and to maximise gross profit. We know that Gareth will get some great ideas from fellow attendees at Nurture Change on what the ultimate stock system looks like and needs and then, with a great new idea or three, this will help Unleashed become even more powerful globally as a NZ-based software company.

UNDER 25s category - Ryan Everton of Globelet

The auto bounce-back email I received from Ryan gave me an insight into why he has been so successful to date – full of personality and passion for his cause.

It made me remember why Derek Sivers earned worldwide rave reviews when he set up and ran CD Baby (contact me if you want details). Communications with customers can be done in a way that are engaging and stand out and make them think "what a cool way of saying something."

For a guy who is 24 to be making a true name for himself in the sustainable space was impressive. Globelet (and Ryan) are trying to imagine a world without disposable cups. They are renting or selling cups for events in order to eliminate waste and he believes that the best waste is no waste. I am no expert here but seems to be some common sense to his thinking. All Globelet products are made in NZ.

Ryan is the sort of guy we think might end up being a speaker at Nurture Change in the future. Welcome Ryan as the winner of our Under 25s scholarship. 

EDUCATION – Charlie Phillips of Queenstown Resort College

If I was young again and wanted to study and succeed in tourism, I would be moving to Queenstown to learn from the best: Queenstown Resort College (QRC).

We all know the impact of tourism in NZ, and QRC have had a massive impact on the greater NZ tourism industry for years. They are really well led by Charlie and he seems to have a very capable team around him.

Students get to spend 6–9 months working in a real job; certainly nothing is better than real life experience. They also offer executive education and this will be having a good impact on business owners and managers in tourism countrywide. Our challenge to Charlie Phillips is to take some of what he learn at Nurture Change and to put some key things into his education offering to help make NZ tourism even more successful.


INNOVATION – James Crow of Nice Blocks and Little Island Creamery

James and his business partner Tommy have done great things over the past 6 years.

Amazing to think how much brand recognition they have built over this time and how they are getting more and more kiwis to try non-traditional ingredient ice blocks, ice cream and milk drinks.

It seems like most super markets or food places we visit are stocking their products. We can imagine that Nurture Change will have a really positive impact on James and his business. They are a great example of an Apple iTunes / iPod moment (ie. timing an entry to market perfectly).

They use coconut cream instead of dairy, so it's all naturally free from dairy, as well as gluten, nut and soy. Their products are ethically produced and made from all sorts of good-for-you, natural and organic ingredients. Topped off with beautiful looking product and branding. Seems like smart business these days. See you in Fiji, James!


To the 8 of you who were in the final 12, we thought that each of your businesses and stories were very compelling and it truly was very difficult deciding on the scholarship winners.

We hope you will be able to join us in Fiji remembering there are still a few places available for proactive NZ business people (owners and entrepreneurs, senior managers, management teams, up and comers) to come along to the Nurture Change Business Retreat to learn from the best, have space to think on their business, get new ideas, some inspiration, relaxation and connection with others from the business community.

We have 2 exciting announcements on the speaker front happening over the next few weeks too who will be joining the likes of Hamish Carter, Diane Foreman, Jeremy Moon, Murray Thom, Mike Carden and lots of others. Details online

The 4 scholarships that Nurture Change and Fairfax are giving away to the above named 4 people are worth around $4500 each. Each scholarship to Nurture Change in Fiji at the 5-star InterContinental from November 2-6, covers airfares for one person, four nights' accommodation, including breakfast, lunch & dinner (excluding drinks), access to the speakers, health and wellness and morning fitness sessions and question and answer sessions with business leaders. 

 - Initially published in the Sunday Star Times and online

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