Top 10: From sports to business

Last updated 14:47 16/07/2014

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The news a few weeks back that former Black Cap Chris Martin had pulled up stumps and run off to be the boss of a Palmerston North mini-mart got us at Stuff Towers thinking the Top 10 most shocking, successful or misguided transitions from sports to business.

1. Marc Ellis: One of Otago University's more famous products, former scarfie Marc Ellis probably applied himself to his many business ventures more than he did his academic work. The author of the Marc Ellis Scarfies Cookbook looked into buying student watering hole Gardies, which was eventually bought by the university in an attempt to clean up Dunedin's Castle St and its surrounds. Co-founder and director of Charlie's Juice Company, Ellis was also well known for the key role he played in marketing the company's orange juice - until he offered his resignation to the board after admitting charges of possessing class-B drug Ecstasy.

2. Va'aiga Tuigamala: Former All Black "Inga the Winger" had a health and fitness business in New Lynn in Auckland that went bust, and saw Inga locked out of the gym by the landlord after falling behind in rent payments. His funeral business, Tuigamala & Sons, also buried his finances when it was placed in liquidation, owing around $100,000.

3. Ali Williams: Former All Black lock Ali Williams opened a chain of SuperFurn bargain furniture stores in the North Island, and narrowly escaped liquidation after investment from an Australian furniture company helped keep a few of the stores open. The Glenfield and Dominion Road branches of SuperFurn were forced to shut up shop due to poor sales, attributed to the economic downturn.

4. Tim Brown: Wildly successful woollen running shoe startup Three Over Seven was created by former All White and Phoenix footballer Tim Brown who attended the World Cup with New Zealand in 2010. The fledgling company took just over 24 hours to reach its $30,000 crowdfunding goal through website Kickstarter. The lightweight shoes that did not require socks were made from New Zealand wool, and were awarded a place in a British government-backed business accelerator programme.

5. Brendon McCullum: The world-class batsman and Black Caps captain recently launched his own bloodstock company Vermair Racing Ltd with the vision to "build a stable of horses that compete and succeed on the world's biggest racing stage". He also joined forces with fellow international cricketers Daniel Vettori, Stephen Fleming and Geoff Allott in Quality New Zealand, which exported premium Kiwi products to India. McCullum and Fleming are also involved with Cric HQ, which promotes cricket through social media.

6. Adam Parore: Former Black Caps wicketkeeper Adam Parore made more headlines over his messy breakup from socialite Sally Ridge than anything else, recently. The pair's nine-year relationship ended in 2010, the same year their joint venture sports clothing company James and August was placed into liquidation. After a four-year battle for half of Parore's Small Business Accounting company, Ridge has failed to get a slice of the business. Parore is also managing director of financial services firm Adam Parore mortgages.

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7. Dan Carter: The man who barely put a foot wrong on the rugby field, took a misstep in the business arena. Dan Carter was a co-director in Gas Clothing, a failed Italian fashion shop that was put into liquidation in 2010, owing creditors more than $1 million.

8. Dion Nash: From vodka to water to juice, Dion Nash dabbled in a variety of beverage businesses before launching his own skincare brand. Triumph & Disaster came to fruition after Nash recognised a need for cricket players' stressed skin to be looked after. The former Black Cap had hidden his Oil of Olay use from his teammates, hiding it in the bottom of his bag in the changing rooms before a match. The skincare, shaving and grooming range is presented as combining the best of science and the best of nature to provide products for specifically designed for men.

9. Glenda Hughes: A national championship shot put record holder, Commonwealth Games representative and holder of four New Zealand power-lifting records, Glenda Hughes demonstrates that perhaps business just needs a woman's touch. She owns and is managing director of media strategy company Glenda Hughes Communication, which has been running for more than 25 years. Hughes is also a member of the Institute of Directors, is affiliated with the Mediterranean Shipping Company and the Parole Board, and serves as director of the nonprofit, charitable organisation KidsCan. In 2013, Hughes was appointed as independent chairwoman of the New Zealand Racing Board.

10. David Kirk: Best known for captaining the All Blacks won won the inaugural Rugby World Cup in 1987, David Kirk transitioned to a top businessman and is arguably the most successful on our list. A former chief executive of Fairfax Media, Kirk was also a Rhodes Scholar and served as a prime ministerial adviser to Jim Bolger. He co-founded Bailador Investment Management, and is chairman of Hoyts, TradeMe, and Kathmandu.

- Stuff

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