Budding entrepreneurs Gina Urlich and Andy Spear of Norish have taken out the first ever Innovate Hawke’s Bay awards with their nutritious baby food product.
They headed off other local entrepreneurs who pitched their ideas to three judges and 75 guests at ToiToi: Hawke’s Bay Arts & Events Centre, winning $5000 plus entry into The Factory’s accelerator programme run out of Havelock North.
The event attracted just under 50 entries, 20 of which moved through to the semi-finals where they pitched to 25 Innovate Hawke’s Bay mentors. Seven finalists were then selected and put through a structured programme over two months, culminating in the final pitch night.
Gina Andy pithed Norish, where nourishing meets moreish. Norish carefully selects the best of what Mother Nature has to offer and combines it with an innovative technology to create a shelf-stable nutrient-rich baby food product line.
“Just being a finalist was a really big winning moment for us,” says Gina. “And receiving the title of Innovate Hawke’s Bay winner for 2021 was incredibly humbling. That external validation for our idea means so much.”
Both on a separate yet similar journey, they connected via Instagram and quickly realised the power of collaboration. Working together, they came up with a solution to fill a hole in the baby food market where they recognised there was a real lack of nutritious commercial baby food.
Going through the Innovate process opened up their networking opportunities. “It broadened and strengthened our vision and business plan,” continues Andy. “Our business plan became better every time we spoke to a mentor.”
First published by The Profit. Click here to read the full article.