Xero, the global small business platform, today announced the four New Zealand small businesses and non-profits who have won a share of the NZ$750,000 global prize pool as part of the inaugural Xero Beautiful Business Fund.
Four New Zealand winners were recognised for best demonstrating in a 90 second video, how they would use the funding to support their future business goals in one of four categories – Innovating for sustainability, Strengthening community connection, Trailblazing with technology and Upskilling for the future.
Launched earlier this year, the Xero Beautiful Business Fund seeks to help Xero’s small business customers boost their growth plans and drive future success. More than 5,500 applications were received from Xero customers across Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, the United States and the United Kingdom.
Three of the New Zealand winners will receive $20,000 each, while the fourth, Buzz Burrows, was also recognised as a global winner and will receive $70,000.
‘Trailblazing with technology’ – NZ and global winner: Buzz Burrows (Wanaka, Otago)
Buzz Burrows is a luminaire (pendant light) manufacturing business from Wānaka and the global winner in the ‘Trailblazing with technology’ category. Buzz Burrows is focused on designing beautiful, high-quality pendant lights. The company is planning to enhance their manufacturing process with a state of the art laser-cutter that will allow them to streamline manufacturing and reduce waste.
Tony Burrows, designer/owner at Buzz Burrows, said: “We’ve tested the market and we are ready to take the business from side hustle to main gig. Because we live a long way from markets and materials, we have to think laterally to be viable.
“Embracing new tech and using it to innovate is a fundamental part of our business strategy. The Xero Beautiful Business Fund will enable us to access digital tools that allow us to explore new materials and new designs.”
Burrows said he was beyond thrilled by the double win. “The double win is fantastic not only because of the new tech, but because it gives us the ability to invest in other areas of the business. As much as we love the creative, we appreciate that a viable business provides the platform for creativity, so this is why the double win is so helpful to the business.”
‘Strengthening community connection’ – NZ winner: Toko Rugby Football Club (Milton, Otago)
Toko Rugby Football Club has been a fixture of the Milton community since 1900. Committee member Ethan Harrex says the club’s vision is to broaden the community club to include other sports like netball, squash and cricket, creating a community sports hub that will bring the community together and provide a place for people to come to now and into the future.
“But we have a big job to do first in upgrading the clubrooms, replacing the roof, doing up the windows and improving the toilets. The place needs a significant face-lift and even some structural repairs, which the Xero Beautiful Business Fund will help us to achieve.
“We are proud to be investing in helping our club rooms to be better utilised by more of our local community to foster an even more inclusive environment in the years to come.”
‘Innovating for sustainability’ – NZ winner: Kiwi Skips (Invercargill, Southland)
Waste management company Kiwi Skips was started by husband and wife duo Dan and Kereana five years ago, after struggling to hire a skip for their own home renovation in Southland. The business has gone from strength to strength, however, they found it concerning that all construction waste was headed to the landfill as opposed to being separated for recycling purposes. So they committed to finding a solution.
“We’ve been working hard to develop Southland’s first resource recovery facility for construction and demolition waste so we can divert it from landfill and recycle waste into other products that can be resold,” says co-owner Dan.
Having already sourced the majority of the equipment from recycled and repurposed plant, the Xero Beautiful Business Fund will assist with the construction needed to get the project off the ground.
‘Upskilling for the future’ NZ winner: Intricate Developments (Taumarunui, Waikato)
Intricate Developments is a construction company with over a decade of local experience. Over and above serving the local industry with a reliable building partner, they also build futures for rangitahi who may be under-privileged with a unique opportunity for employment and upskilling.
HR and recruitment manager Anna Saxton says: “We believe in the power of education and the opportunities it creates. We not only help our next generation develop construction skills, we also help them learn the financial aspects and commitment of upholding a job, with mental health and wellbeing at the core.”
The business plans to put its win from the Xero Beautiful Business Fund towards further education for rangitahi on new earthquake strengthening systems ahead of their first earthquake strengthening project in 2024, requiring extensive training including health and safety, working from heights and using earthquake strengthening products.
Xero Country Manager – NZ, Bridget Snelling, says: “Congratulations to the New Zealand winners of the inaugural Xero Beautiful Business Fund. We are incredibly proud to support these talented small businesses and non-profits in their quest to boost their growth and success with positive impacts for their customers and communities.
“I also want to say a special thank you to everyone who took the time to apply and share their wonderful stories with us. Judging the entries was a rewarding experience which gave us a unique window into some amazing businesses that use Xero’s services, and the passion that drives them forward.”
The Xero Beautiful Business Fund was first announced during Xero Day, Xero’s founding day celebrations, on 6 July this year. Applications opened on 23 August and ran for six weeks, closing 6 October. To enter, applicants needed to submit a 90-second pitch video sharing details of their business, the category they were applying in and their plans to use the funding. Regional winners were chosen by a regional judging panel composed of local business and industry leaders, Xero accounting and bookkeeping partners and Xero employees, for a total of 28 winners. A global judging panel made up of global business and industry leaders, technology experts and Xero executives, then selected one global winner in each category from the 28 regional winners.
For more information and to learn about the winners, visit xero.com/beautiful-business-fund.