Malcolm Gomes’ business idea, called Seguro, won first prize at Innovate Taranaki. Photo / Provided
On Wednesday evening, in front of a full house at the Novotel, Malcolm Gomes won the first prize for Innovate Taranaki.
Innovate Taranaki is a 10-week mini-accelerator program that culminated in a final evening where six participants pitched their business ideas to a panel of judges and the Taranaki business community.
Malcolm Gomes’ business idea, called Seguro, uses QR code technology to provide an affordable and easy-to-use keyless access solution for hosting providers.
“Malcolm was able to clearly articulate the problem Seguro is solving and passionately demonstrated the technology on-site,” explained one of Innovate Taranaki’s four judges, Stephanie Murray of Stephanie Murray Mortgages.
“He defined his market well and laid out a growth schedule that made us think we wouldn’t mind putting our own capital into the business – which I think is the ultimate test for a competition like this one.”
“Innovating was unreal,” Malcolm said after celebrating his win. “Winning was part of it, but the program, in general, has been invaluable, working as a team of six finalists alongside our mentors.
“Since we were selected as finalists 10 weeks ago, we had a baby, I changed my day job and halfway through the program I hit a low point. I was struggling to establish commercial validation for my idea, but my wife’s unwavering encouragement, the commitment of mentors and the Innovate team got me through.
“Innovate has positioned Seguro so well that I feel a real sense of responsibility to pursue this and put more of my energy into bringing it to market. We already have customer requests coming in.”
As well as hearing outstanding Shark Tank-style pitches from the finalists, the crowd was also treated to an inspirational speech from Taranaki’s success story, Morgan Maw, who launched Boring Oat Milk last year. and has since taken the milk alternative world by storm.
“It was wonderful to see Taranaki’s business community come together to mingle, be inspired, eat and laugh, but most of all to cheer on our budding entrepreneurs and encourage our region’s spirit of innovation,” said said Pallak Manan Singh, Innovate Taranaki Event Manager, from Brand HQ.
“It was a real community effort to bring this first edition of Innovate Taranaki to fruition,” continues Pallak, “from local businesses pitching in as sponsors to mentors donating their time, Peter Hilliam and the BNZ New Plymouth team running many workshops , and the incredible team at The Factory in Palmerston North driving north to stay engaged throughout the 10 weeks.”
Malcolm Gomes received $5,000 in seed money and $10,000 in services to support the development of Seguro, as well as the opportunity to introduce the wider New Zealand angel scene.
The event was generously sponsored and supported by a number of key organizations including BNZ, Datacom, Stephanie Murray Mortgages, Vortex International, Chamber of Commerce, Venture Taranaki and Innovation HQ, with the evening hosted by Taranaki iwi. After the success of the first edition, Innovate Taranaki will return in 2023.