Winners announced for New Zealand International Business Awards 2022
A Hawkes Bay business dedicated to "powering up your day, one bite at a time" is the Supreme Winner of the New Zealand International Business Awards 2022, announced on 27 October, at the Awards' first in-person event since 2019.
The Supreme Award winner, Rockit Global, is an apple company whose unique product – miniature apples – is now sold in more than 30 countries and grown in 10. Operating for more than 20 years, Rockit Global employs unique growing methods and technologies that are breaking new ground for their business and industry.
As well as the Supreme Award chosen by a panel of judges, Rockit Global also won the category award for Best Large Business.
Judges described Rockit Global as a worthy Supreme Award winner, due to an inspiring team with great global expertise that has successfully built their brand around a product that does not typically have a brand.
One judge commented that "Rockit Global have a good awareness of the risks they face and a deliberate strategic focus on managing issues such as maintaining consistency across different product sources. They've executed this so well that they can partner with big global brands and beat other apple products significantly, which is great evidence of success."
A record 57 finalists made it through to the last stages of the Awards for 2022, following a rigorous application and judging process. Finalists represented a wide range of sectors, spanning digital services, food and beverage, consumer products, agritech and more, with a strong showing from regional New Zealand.
Winners across 10 award categories were chosen by an independent panel of judges with extensive experience in growing businesses internationally.
The gala ceremony in Auckland, attended by more than 550 guests including finalists, business leaders and VIPs, was the first in-person presentation of the New Zealand International Business Awards since 2019. No awards were held in 2020, and the 2021 ceremony was delivered as a live online broadcast.
A new award for 2022 was presented at the ceremony: Excellence in Brand Storytelling, sponsored by New Zealand Story. The inaugural winner was Bay of Plenty-based UBCO, manufacturer of utility electric vehicles. Judges commended UBCO for nailing their storytelling around purpose, people and product.
A special award was also presented to VeVe for Extraordinary Growth in Emerging Business, alongside the overall winner for Best Emerging Business, Nui Markets. Minister for Trade and Export Growth, Damien O'Connor, presented the award for Best Medium Business to Dawn Aerospace and the award for Excellence in Innovation, won by Parkable, was presented by the Minister for Economic and Regional Development, Stuart Nash. The Minister for Māori Development, Willie Jackson, presented the He kai kei aku ringa for Māori Excellence in Export to Kiwa Digital.
David Downs, convenor of judges for the Awards, said: "These businesses have shown true spirit in navigating the challenges of the past few years. It was a pleasure to be able to recognise our extraordinary finalists and reveal the winners of this year's awards.
"Doing business internationally is never easy. Throw in COVID-19 disruptions, supply chain issues and rising costs: companies which have navigated all of this, and then some, deserve to be celebrated. And for New Zealand, the determination and ingenuity they've shown has never mattered more.
"We're genuinely privileged as judges to hear from these remarkable people and businesses. And the number of finalists in this year's Awards – exceeding the record set for 2021 – is testament to the standards being set by exporters. They represent the hard work and the contribution that export businesses make to our economy and the communities we live in."
The New Zealand International Business Awards 2022 winners are:
Supreme Award, chosen from the winners of all categories
See profile below under Best Large Business.
Best Emerging Business
Nui Market's digital trading platforms are revolutionising the way manufacturing businesses trade agricultural products. Combining the speed and convenience of a digital-trading platform with the expertise of a category-specific marketplace, Nui's platforms let buyers and sellers trade with greater price transparency and market efficiency. The cloud-based software also helps customers reduce their carbon footprint. Nui's platforms are used by 300+ companies in more than 60 countries, across several different agricultural product sectors. Judges observed that Nui Markets were smart to monetize data and to be able to demonstrate liquidity in other markets for their customers.
Extraordinary Growth in Emerging Business
VeVe is an app and web platform that facilitates global trade in digital collectibles. Since launching in 2021, it has attracted a global community, selling more than 6 million digital collectibles in the VeVe online store, and generating sales of US$1.2 billion in the VeVe secondary marketplace (user to user). Many of the world's leading brands, artists and creatives trust their most valuable IP to VeVe – including Disney, Star Wars, Pixar, Marvel, DC Comics, Warner Bros and Dreamworks. The judges were impressed by the growth VeVe has achieved in just one year, with a unique and extremely difficult to replicate product.
Excellence in Integrating Digital Commerce for Growth
Biotech company MitoQ aims to change human health on a global scale, one cell at a time. Its patented molecule was the first of its kind, an advanced antioxidant that's able to get deep inside human cells in significant amounts. Since it was established in the 1990s, MitoQ has engaged more than 200,000 customers worldwide. Over 650 independent research papers have been published and 14 clinical trials have been conducted on MitoQ's antioxidant molecule. Our judges said MitoQ have integrated digital commerce with business strategy and turned this into a data-rich insights company.
Excellence in Sustainability, brought to you by ANZ
Ethique creates award-winning solid beauty products sold in more than 6,500 retailers across 24 countries and their entire range is plastic-free, cruelty-free and vegan, palm oil-free, made with sustainably sourced and directly traded ingredients. By displacing wasteful plastic-packaged products, Ethique have been able to prevent the manufacture and subsequent disposal of 25 million plastic bottles. The judges were impressed with the way sustainability is embodied across the business from recruitment, to supply chain and product development.
Inspiring Women Leaders, brought to you by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade | Manatū Aorere
In 2013, Frances Shoemack created a 100% natural perfume under the brand name Abel. Since then, the category of 'conscious perfume' has expanded. Frances continues to lead an international team of women based in Amsterdam, Boston, and Abel's Wellington headquarters. Abel is sold direct-to-consumer in around 200 stores in more than 25 countries, with exports driving more than 80% of revenue. The judges described Frances as "a genuine and transparent individual who leads with a faithful outlook for a real, natural and sustainable future."
Excellence in Innovation
Parkable uses technology in a human-centred way to solve employee and tenant parking problems all over the world. More than 100 enterprise customers, including both employers and property managers, use Parkable to improve their employee and tenant parking experience, increase car park utilisation, save time on administration, and generate revenue. With a clear vision for the future and great recognition of how macro trends will influence their vision, the judges said Parkable were impressive and commended them on integrating systems rather than trying to build everything from scratch.
Leveraging Investment for International Growth, brought to you by Invest New Zealand
Auror works to combat the impacts of organised retail crime in our communities, an NZ$150 billion problem globally. Used by the largest retailers in the world, Auror's platform lets frontline retail staff easily report crime, and identify and link previous offences. Auror has digitised the relationship between police and community and has more than 20,000 active law enforcement users on its global platform. This sees police using the technology for intelligence in homicide and drug investigations, empowering them to make faster and better decisions. Judges were impressed at how Auror has leveraged investors to build staff and hire the right expertise.
He kai kei aku ringa for Māori Excellence in Export
KIWA Digital is a Māori-led technology business that is recognised as a key influencer in the global language-services industry. The company's dubbing software, VoiceQ, is powering global hits that include Prey, Money Heist, and Squid Games. Its cultural services software creates unique mobile apps that enable indigenous voices to be heard authentically around the globe and to improve literacy and cultural capability. One of the key things that struck the judges about Kiwa Digital was the company's long-term vision and the 100-year plan for their future.
Excellence in Brand Storytelling, brought to you by New Zealand Story
UBCO produces rugged utility electric vehicles and has a mission to transform the way people ride, work and play. With almost 4000 bikes in key markets, its vehicles are used for a range of purposes, from working the land, exploring the outback, and surfing, to commuting, food delivery and filming and the company has almost tripled its revenue year-on-year. The judges admired UBCO's great assurance around what they are doing and achieving.
Best Medium Business
Dawn Aerospace's mission is to enable the next generation of space users by providing dramatically more scalable and sustainable ways to access and move around in space. Since 2019, the company has provided global customers with in-space propulsion products used to propel satellites. These propulsion units have launched on SpaceX, Soyuz, and Vega launchers. Dawn is now a leading supplier of turnkey green propulsion systems, and the company is also active in reusable launch vehicle development. Judges commented on the systems Dawn Aerospace have in place to enable sustainability and scalability of the business and their deliberate focus on being a commercially sustainable business, with ambitious goals.
Best Large Business
Rockit Global is an apple company with attitude at the edge of the world that began when the world's first miniature apple was created in Hawke's Bay. It's a unique brand with a unique product that's in high demand globally, with RockitTM apples now sold in more than 30 countries and grown in 10. Rockit Global employs unique growing methods and technologies that are breaking new ground for their business and their industry. 'An inspiring team with great global expertise that has successfully built their brand around a product that does not typically have a brand,' were the judge's observations.