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Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year - Category Finalists

The desire for success
By William Mace – Waikato Times Friday, 19 August 2011

Category prizes for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards have been dished out to a broad range of business champions, including two scientists, an engineer, and a screen chef.

They all have one thing in common: the desire to keep striving for success, according to product category winner Dr Doug Cleverly, chief executive of animal health contract research an manufacturer Argenta.

In speaking with fellow category winner Linda Jenkinson of LesConcierges recently he realised they had similar motivations and an inability to excessively celebrate success.

"She told me about the success she'd had and I bet her she could actually count the number of seconds that she let herself revel in that success at about 10 to 15 seconds – but she said no it was about eight seconds.

"That's how it is because you're always onto the next thing and there's always this internal striving for something better or different, and there's very little sitting back and thinking that you're bloody clever."

As for whether scientists make good entrepreneurs, Cleverly said he had always wanted to apply his scientific studies to the commercial world.

When given that chance by his mentor Gordon Vincent at Nufarm and then at Chemlabs, Cleverly honed the entrepreneurial skills he felt had been with him since birth.

"On this nature versus nurture argument I'm definitely on the nature side.

"You're made a certain way and that sets you up ... the nurture thing comes into it because it gives you the inclination to actually enact what you have been given as a skill from birth.

"I've always been about building and creating stuff since I was a kid but an entrepreneur is someone who converts whatever they build and create into cash I suppose."

A scientist who is getting used to discussing big cash numbers is Dr Sean Simpson, the brains behind LanzaTech in more ways than one.

Simpson's research has fuelled the business which is attracting big investment to test its industrial bi-product conversion technology on a massive scale.

Speaking from China this week Simpson said the technology category award was "tremendous compliment" but unexpected given the competition.

But he said competition in China was even bigger, just on the sheer numbers.

"You've only got to look around you – there's 100 million people within an hour of Shanghai and there's an entrepreneur on every street corner so to be successful in China you've got a hell of a lot of competition. The successful people are very smart."

Communicating his ideas is a major skill in his entrepreneurial arsenal at the moment as he shops the Lanzatech technology around the world's manufacturers, he said.

"You've got to have an ability to tell your story in a clear and succinct manner ... It's really about being an oral translator of technology into understandable language so that people can become as excited as you are about that technology and see the value of it to themselves."

Services category winner Simon Gault has taken his own journey from kitchen-bound chef to celebrity restaurateur and televisual story-teller.
Accepting a call on the set of the latest series of MasterChef, Gault explained that his life long ambition had been to own his own restaurant, but now he had a personal brand he hoped would spread globally.

Picking up an Entrepeneur of the Year award was also "a dream come true", he said.
"I guess I'm out of the kitchen and into the frying pan – I've got a bunch of businesses and it's about ensuring that I touch them all equally and as well as possible to ensure that we have some entrepreneurial success."

He said his main entreprenuerial trait was being a risk taker, but his unbending commitment to differentiating his establishments and products from others in the market has really driven his success.

Category winners are:

Dr Doug Cleverly, Argenta

Simon Gault, Nourish Group and Sous Chef

Dr Sean Simpson, LanzaTech

Young Entrepreneur
Victoria Ransom, Wildfire

Master Entrepreneur
Linda Jenkinson, LesConcierges Inc; Bill Buckley, BSL Buckley Systems

The Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards will be held on September 22 where the supreme award winner will be named.

The overall winner will represent New Zealand at the Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur of the Year Awards in Monte Carlo in June 2012.


Argenta receives $4.7M Government Grant for Research and Development

Govt gives $50m to aid NZ research
By Adam Bennett  NZ Herald, 5:30 AM Tuesday Aug 16, 2011

The Government has announced a $50 million second round of research and development grants to successful high-tech businesses, with the biggest of the 19 grants going to Canadian-owned touch display maker NextWindow.

Science and Innovation Minister Wayne Mapp announced the grants yesterday. They follow an initial $92.5 million commitment in December last year.

The grants are part of a Government plan to give $189.5 million in funding over four years to meet 20 per cent of the research and development spending by medium to large research-intensive firms which can show their activities result in wider benefits to New Zealand.

The largest grant announced yesterday was the $5.9 million to NextWindow, a company bought by Canada's Smart Technologies in April last year. The size of the grant implies NextWindow plans to spend almost $30 million on research and development over the next three years.

Other big grant recipients included Rod Drury's listed software company Xero which received $4 million.


Argenta turns 5 years old

By Doug Cleverly

I was recovering from having 22 toddlers over last weekend to celebrate my son Max’s 5th birthday and contemplated the fact that it is also Argenta’s 5th birthday on the 10th August. In some ways the 5 years have swept by incredibly quickly, especially when we reflect on what has happened in that 5-year period. Quite a bit - Argenta has doubled in size, gone international, been through the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression but come out of it with record levels of throughput and interest in our products and services both here and in the USA, not a bad effort. Who knows where we will be in another 5 years – what I do know is I am a little daunted by the possibilities... Happy 5th birthday to us all.


Doug Cleverly makes the final of Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2011

Unlimited Magazine Friday, August 05 2011

Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards director Jon Hooper says this year's finalists are creative and innovative, and each is focused on global opportunities. The entrepreneurs selected this year have all persisted despite several setbacks, Hooper says.

“If you compare the performance of their businesses during the past few years to more traditional businesses, it is not hard to understand why the smart money is following entrepreneurs globally,” Hooper says.

Category winners will be announced on 19 August. Two new categories this year are Social Entrepreneur and a Lifetime Services Award for contribution to entrepreneurship. The other categories are Young, Master, Products, Services, and Technology and Emerging Industries. The finalist group also includes Doug Cleverly of animal health pharmaceuticals firm Argenta and Digital Arena's Marcus Radich and Neil McGowan. Digital Arena offers software for firms with their own production or publishing studios.

The judges are Greg Cross of Cross Ventures, Seaworks' Bill Day, Emerald Group's Diane Foreman, John Hynds of Hynds Pipes and Trends International's David Johnson.

The full list of finalists is:

  • Amber Coulter and Andrew Lewis, The Research Agency
  • Angus Allan, The Collective
  • Anthony Leighs, Leighs Construction
  • Bill Buckley, BSL Buckley Systems
  • Dr Doug Cleverly, Argenta
  • Dr Sean Simpson, LanzaTech
  • Joe Hesmondhalgh, GroutPro
  • Kathryn Wilson, Kathryn Wilson Footwear
  • Linda Jenkinson, LesConcierges
  • Marcus Radich and Neil McGowan, Digital Arena
  • Selwyn Pellet, Imarda
  • Simon Gault, The Nourish Group and Sous Chef
  • Victoria Ransom, Wildfire