MYOB has announced its 2019 Headstart for Startups competition finalists, including Simon Cooke of Froth Technologies, Amy Prebble of Getaflex, Nick Jackson of Spout Alternatives, Olivia Storm of Smile Initiative and Te Ara Armstrong of Stay Native.

Supported by The Hits, Ahikōmako, the Ministry of Awesome, 0.Ventures, ANZ and The Common, the Headstart for Startups competition aims to support early-stage startups and local entrepreneurs by providing business tips, financial support and marketing advice.

MYOB marketing manager Krissy Sadler-Bridge said the finalists were chosen for their bold ambition, innovative ideas and potential for growth.

“This year’s finalists are an impressive bunch of local entrepreneurs,” said Ms Sadler-Bridge. “Their ideas are not only financially viable, they’re also helping to solve some of New Zealand’s greatest challenges – like reducing plastic waste, supporting indigenous communities, and preparing employers and employees for the future of work.”

Each finalist will be flown to Auckland on 25 September to present their business to a panel of industry-leading judges.

One lucky finalist will then receive a prize package worth more than $70,000 – including a cash prize of $10,000, a lifetime subscription to accounting software MYOB Essentials, an NZME marketing deal, and 6 months free professional business coaching.

The remaining finalists will also receive $1000 cash, 12 months free MYOB Essentials, and 3 months of business coaching from The Common in Auckland.

The competition – now in its second year – received more than 280 entries from across the country, not only from the main centres but a number of entries from Waikato, Otago and northland, as well as other regional towns and rural areas.

Around a third of the entries were submitted by early-stage startups – entrepreneurs with a business idea – while more than half came from startups that have already been operating for 12 months.

Meet the finalists:

Froth Technologies, Simon Cooke

Froth Technologies is unlocking the flavours of New Zealand through the wonder of yeast. The startup is growing New Zealand’s first commercially available beer yeast to help make Kiwi craft beer the highest quality and most sustainable in the world.

Getaflex, Amy Prebble

Getaflex is a New Zealand-grown job-search platform. The company searches hundreds of job, company and industry sites and directly approaches employers to track down flexible work opportunities for professionals in any industry.

Spout Alternatives, Nick Jackson

Spout was established to provide an alternative to plastic milk bottles. The startup provides a solution to plastic waste in the form of milk kegs on-tap. The kegs are refilled and reused time and time again to provide a sustainable milk packaging option to cafes and restaurants.

Smile Initiative, Olivia Storm

Smile Initiative is a social enterprise aimed at raising awareness and empowering workplaces to understand and manage mental health. The startup offers first aid courses and workshops that teach people about a number of different mental health concerns, and how they can approach a mental health crises.

Stay Native, Te Ara Armstrong

Stay Native is a social enterprise that helps tourists and locals find authentic cultural experiences that support local communities. The company helps people discover what is unique about a culture by connecting them with local indigenous hosts.