Ambitious food and fibre businesses with proven products seeking to expand their operations are being invited to apply for Investment Ready, a programme by The Factory and the Ministry for Primary Industries.
The programme takes successful applicants through an intensive and comprehensive 12-week programme, preparing them for the next phase of growth and investment with mentorship, documentation, and connections with investors. Having completed the programme with the first cohort of applicants, Investment Ready is now open for a second round, ready to take Kiwi ingenuity to the world stage.
‘Agvocate’ who gets behind all things food and fibre Nick Gain, The Factory CEO, says that in a tough environment, access to support and potential investment dollars has never been more relevant. “With Investment Ready, we’re giving established but smaller food and fibre businesses the support and access to the expertise necessary for stepping it up a gear and taking on international markets. New Zealand is well-recognised as a source of high-quality food and other agricultural products; the markets are there, and the customers want our goods. But it is incredibly difficult to go from start-up to busy small company, and on to large-scale production. And that’s what Investment Ready does. We open those doors.”
Designed to equip food and fibre businesses with the tools to prepare for and successfully raise investment capital for business growth, Investment Ready is a 12-week programme that assists through dedicated support, knowledge, mentorship, investor connections and vital investment documentation. This addresses a fundamental challenge for any business looking to scale, notes Gain. “The organisations we work with have a proven product and market. What they don’t have is the capital necessary for scaling up. And with the word ‘recession’ being bounced around, it’s more difficult than ever.”
Among the first cohort of food and fibre businesses to have completed the Investment Ready programme in 2023 is Palmerston North’s Moreish Premium Organic Butchery. A family-owned boutique producer and retailer of free-range meats operating since 2009, Moreish have a well-established domestic presence and exports to several international markets. The business is a multiple award winner and a recognised brand ready to step up to scale. Nicola Fitzsimons describes Investment Ready as tough, hands-on, and a great deal of work. “We knew and expected that, but without the effort, there is no way we could be as far along on our international expansion plans as we now are,” she says.
It’s a classic case of doing the mahi to get the treats. “Stepping up to the next level takes a lot. The ideas may not be new, but when you are required to work to a deadline and a schedule, the plans you have in the back of your head come very much to the fore. You can’t put it off for tomorrow, it is about accelerating execution, getting on with it, and putting plans into action.”
Fitzsimons says one of the major lessons emerging from working with Investment Ready is the practice of working on the business, rather than in the business. “It’s a challenge every owner of a growing business faces. There’s the operational stuff that must happen all the time, but sometimes that’s at the expense of the strategic side. Investment Ready elevates things to the strategic level.”
Tackling international markets and building a brand takes considerable time and capital. Fitzsimons says the programme has helped Moreish understand what investors want to see and what they expect from businesses looking for their support. “Be prepared to work, a lot. But you’ll also understand and appreciate what you have far better,” she advises potential participants in the second cohort. “Make no mistake, this is a demanding programme, but it is so worth it.”
Gain says each successful applicant is equipped with the necessary tools, documentation, and connections to develop a compelling investment proposition and find the right investors for successful partnerships. “We’ve seen many promising food and fibre companies going in to pitch to investors but lacking the right knowledge and documentation to secure backing. With Investment Ready, a customised approach is taken to each business, with mentorship, advice, and guidance on how to take the next steps. If your business is established with products in the market and ready to expand, we’d love to hear from you.”
Applications for Cohort II of the Investment Ready Programme are open and close 23 June. For more information visit https://www.investmentready.nz/.