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Fieldays Innovation Den hailed a big success

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The first Fieldays Innovation Den - powered by SODA Inc. was held at the 2013 National Fieldays this week in an atmosphere of capital, competition and celebration.

Twelve inventors were chosen to pitch on stage on Thursday in front of a panel made up of investors and business moguls. These twelve inventors have spent the past two weeks being intensively coached and mentored by Team SODA to get pitch-ready in the hope of securing support and investment.

The Innovation Den is a chance for early stage inventors to increase their understanding of what it takes to commercialise their great inventions and learn directly from NZ investors. "We are working to bridge the gap between the two," said SODA CEO, Cheryl Reynolds.

The Fieldays Innovation Den arose out of the partnership between Fieldays and SODA. Fieldays wanted to provide more support to the entrants of the Innovation Centre so they came to SODA and collectively decided on running a Dragon’s Den Style event.

"The opportunities and exposure that an event like this creates for inventors and entrepreneurs is huge, we aim to increase pathways for NZ inventors and investors to help take more great kiwi inventions into global markets," said Cheryl Reynolds.

12-year-old Patrick Roskram of Matamata, made an enthusiastic pitch to the Innovation Den panel about his invention; the fencing tool Gudgeon Pro 4in1. Patrick’s passionate speech was recognised by Dr Ray Thompson, Chair of the Angel’s Association NZ, who awarded the $1000 Best Pitch Award to the young finalist saying it was a stand-out presentation. Patrick also won a marketing pack from Vodafone’s Darren Hopper who offered time with their creative agency in Auckland. However, the icing on the cake for the young inventor was a personal invitation from Sir William Gallagher for the 12-year-old to have an internship at Gallagher’s Research and Development department during his school holidays.

Sir William Gallagher joined a surprised Patrick on stage as he finished his presentation. Sir William congratulated Patrick on his pitch, giving him a triple A for enthusiasm.

"You’ve certainly got a solution for the New Zealand market and I can see an opportunity for it. There’s some homework to do but I’m certain you can come up with a product that can go into shops."

Patrick later said it was all "pretty awesome" and it had always been a dream of his to speak to Sir William and that he had lots of other ideas up his sleeve.

Other awards presented in the Innovation Den were:

Droidworx won the $15,000 SODA Lift Most Viable Business prize for aerial robot carrying live-feed cameras that can monitor farms while the owner is at home.

Rodney Sharp from the Kakapo Impactor won the $1,500 Vodafone Best Use of Technology award for the safer post-driving system.

Fieldays has a proud history of supporting Innovations and NZ National Fieldays CEO Jon Calder said he was extremely pleased with the result of the first Innovation Den.

"We are incredibly proud of the relationship we’ve forged with SODA and look forward to growing this event bigger and better next year."

The next New Zealand National Agricultural Fieldays will be held 11-14 June 2014 at Mystery Creek Events Centre, 10 minutes south of Hamilton. Fieldays is proudly supported by strategic partners - ANZ and the University of Waikato.

For more information, head to the Fieldays website,

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