ExportNZ Bay of Plenty Awards winners announced

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All photos by Wayne Tait Photography

ABOVE: Brian Smith and Glenn Purcell, Automation & Electronics NZ.

Enterprising and innovative Bay companies Bluelab, Manaaki Adventures, Automation & Electronics NZ, Heilala Vanilla’s Ruby Grant and well-known Cooney Lees Morgan lawyer and stalwart startups supporter Murray Denyer, took out the top categories at the latest BoP Export Awards.

The 29th annual awards’ theme this was a glamorous A Night with the Stars gala dinner in Tauranga.

Export NZ BoP executive office Jo Hall  said huge congratulations were in order for the deserving exporting stars, as well as to the strong finalists. 

“It takes courage and vision to be an exporter and the Bay of Plenty business community should be very proud of the great things these entrants have been doing on the world stage.”

Sharp Tudhope Lawyers Best Medium-Large Business Winner Automation & Electronics NZ was praised by the judges for its long history of successful exporting through tough times that have seen them re-think their strategy in order to continue to succeed. The company has challenged in particular North American providers of automation controls and 3D scanning and optimisation solutions for the solid wood processing industry. Today Automation & Electronics has more than 50 installations – or companies that use their products and processes – in North America and more than 750 installations worldwide.

Page Macrae Engineering Excellence in Innovation winner Bluelab has developed world-leading technology that unlocks the potential in plants while equipping growers with the freedom to pioneer in the plant-age. Judges noted that Bluelab’s innovative techniques and approaches had been applied across the product, service and user experience, contributing to Bluelab now exporting to the USA, Netherlands and Spain.

Beca Export Achievement Award Winner Ruby Grant, the general manager sales and marketing for Heilala Vanilla, has challenged convention and developed new channels to market, including Amazon, where it has been the top selling vanilla on the US site. Judges said she was a modest leader who demonstrated real passion and skill, particularly in informing product development. Over the last three years Heilala has achieved more than 40 percent annual growth, and is now available in 1800 stores, every state in Australia, and in the two biggest Australian supermarket chains. (see accompanying story)

Employers and Manufacturers Association Service to Export Award winner Murray Denyer of Cooney Lees Morgan is known to many for the integral part he has played in the development of the kiwifruit industry. He is also noted for his support of the region’s start-up businesses through his role as chairman of Priority One and as a board member of angel investor group Enterprise Angels.

You Travel Best Emerging Business Winner Manaaki Adventures offers customised packages to suit the student market for education, adventure, service, culture and sports tours, as well as rugby tours for teams of all ages. Touring parties get the opportunity to tap into some of the best educational and rugby brains the country has to offer, while getting an authentic insight into Maori culture. Judges commended them for leveraging existing experience, learning from others and upskilling themselves to set themselves up for success, which has paid off with 100 percent growth in turnover year on year.

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