City's Innovate chases entrepreneurs

It may have had a name change, but that is just one of the small differences in this year's Innovate competition.

Previously called Innovate Manawatu, Innovate is a competition that gives budding entrepreneurs the chance to turn their ideas into cash and a viable business.

It is best thought of as a local version of television's Dragon's Den, minus the dramatic music and a lot less intimidating.

Run by the Bio Commerce Centre, Innovate is heading into its third year in expansion mode.

Marketing manager Dave Craig said the biggest difference was the inclusion of Whanganui in the competition.

"We've extended the reach, if you will.

"It's basically a central North Island thing now."

While the format was essentially the same - people submit ideas which are whittled down to 30, then 10 finalists before a supreme winner is announced - Mr Craig said there had been some exciting changes for those who miss out on the top 10.

"Once the 10 were selected all the other ideas went away, but this year . . . we're going to run Innovate U."

Innovate U would be an ideas club where those who missed out on the top 10 could come together, network and hear from guest speakers on various topics, he said.

"Innovate U could continue after Innovate is finished, but could become a monthly thing."

About 350 entered the competition last year, but Mr Craig said he wanted to "blow that out of the water".

In store for the winner is $10,000 in prizes, while each finalist would also get prizes.

Entries for Innovate open tomorrow. For more information, see

Manawatu Standard