Bright Ideas Challenge feels like it’s already permanent

By Peter Kerr 10/11/2011

Perhaps the best thing coming out of what is only the second Bright Ideas Challenge just completed by Grow Wellington is the sense of permanence it already has.

It feels like it is going to hang around.

The publicity (and recognition that it’s bloody hard work) given to up and coming businesses, or the ideas for businesses, is a virtuous spiral. Much of this is based on the notion that ‘heck if Joe or Joanne can do this….there’s no reason I shouldn’t.’

And with the success, (and failure…but let’s call it experience instead) of participants in these Bright Ideas Challenges, will come more bright ideas. They might use BIC 2012 to develop it, but more importantly, look to explore it now. (As an aside, apparently this year’s ideas were of better quality than last year’s inaugural event, so an onward and upward notion is definitely on the cards).

Given the contacts and discussions and networking that the challengers (and those looking over their shoulders) will and have done, people will simply get on with testing, validating and capitalising on an idea.

One of the most promising aspects of the finalists in BIC was the range. While there were a fair number of computer/internet/app based business ideas, the region’s science organisations also participated.

GNS won the science prize for ‘The Macerator’, a new technology to process samples for fossil analysis — particularly useful in the oil and water exploration industries by those drilling for the products. GNS hasn’t yet protected the technology, so is rightly cagey about revealing the methodology.

Tinkture Tattoo Aftercare received the consumer product prize for — well, it is self-named.

The main prize, taken by the Clean Technology Category winner, was Greenkeeper Systems Ltd. It ensures that desktop and laptop computers are switched off when not in use, helping reduce the carbon footprint of the IT sector estimated to create 0.5% of global carbon emissions. You’d have to presume that this technology is seen as having the best, fastest, most scalable opportunity for immediate growth.

One feature the BIC organisers got right this year was the presentation ceremony. It took about 10 minutes for all the category winners to be announced, and then after a quick speech by Grow Wellington chair Fran Wilde, the winner, Helen Joronen, received the top award.

See all the winners, announced on Wednesday 2 November, here, the top dogs from almost 1000 entries.

Then the all-important, arguably most important aspect of the evening. Smooching and connecting. The event itself started at 5.30, and was still going, after nine when sticK left.

If you want a totally non-objective indication of the value that people have and are finding from BIC, look no further than that as an indicator.

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