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chief cook & bottle washer to judge NZ's largest start-up competition

15 February 2018

news release

phil&teds' chief cook and bottle washer, Campbell Gower, along with three other seasoned entrepreneurs and global innovators, will judge this year's Innes48 Start-up Competition in Hamilton. They are charged with the task of selecting this year’s winning business start-up from around 15 teams to compete at Wintec in March.

An escaped investment banker, Gower has spent over 30 years investing and building dynamic, agile and profitable businesses. A founder of honest juice company, Charlie’s, the seasoned entrepreneur has a nose for getting enterprising Kiwi companies global.

Alongside managing a successful private equity portfolio, Gower heads phil&teds - an international, multi-brand company that’s proud to be one of the world's leading inventors, designers and marketers of juvenile products. In his time at the helm, the organisation has received more business, consumer and industry awards than you can shake a stick at, including three world renowned Red Dot design awards.

While Gower likes leading, he enjoys mentoring more, and has been lucky enough to work with some incredible talent across finance, product design and brand marketing. He believes opportunities in business can be fleeting, and competition tough – to succeed, he advocates a “have a go and quick!” mentality.

Other judges include Chip Dawson, Roanne Parker and Robert Stone:

Serial entrepreneur, Kiwi tech angel investor and CEO of International Business Management, Chip Dawson, loves New Zealand and rates global connections. Chip believes in success “anywhere and anytime”. He says New Zealanders have to be nimble, flexible and out-think how we’re going to use technology to be part of a global community.

Roanne Parker started her first business at 20, sold Hire a Hubby at the age of 29 and has been focused on digital and technology entrepreneurship ever since. Now wearing a few hats, Parker is managing director of Calibrate a marketing agency specialised in customer and revenue growth. She’s an active investor and a non-executive director on multiple boards in the government and private sector. Her real-life experience having created and exited million-dollar businesses, make her a sought-after mentor and advisor.

Ranked by Crunchbase as one of the most influential people in New Zealand and top 10 in Australia and New Zealand combined, Robert Stone, general manager of strategy and innovation at Plan B. has over 25 years leadership experience in technology, new business models and telecom. Stone loves startups, values mentors and lives by the mantra “innovation is never about what you know, but what you do not”.

Event organiser and chief of operations at Soda Inc, Rachel Adams says together these four people know what it takes to achieve great things.

“This year’s stellar line-up of judges all bring a remarkable entrepreneurial experience and skills and complement each other well in the spirit of this competition. Together they are a force and will contribute greatly to the high energy, action-packed weekend of the Innes48 Start-up competition.

“For our Innes48 competitors, every minute they get with these leaders counts at this once in a lifetime experience where they will test their skills to the limit.”

The four judges will decide the winners of the 2018 Innes48 Start-up Competition at Wintec over one high energy, high impact weekend from 16-18 March. Categories are Most Viable Business, Most Innovative Idea and Best Pitch. The overall winners will take away a cash prize of $15,000.

The Soda Inc. Innes48 Start-up Competition powered by Wintec is the largest event of its kind in New Zealand. It draws hundreds of national and international applicants who compete over 48 hours. Fifteen teams are selected to participate in a weekend where they achieve in hours what could take months or years.