Giving a leg up to local start ups

Back in 2009 five guys and gals sat around a table discussing what “global best in class customer engagement” within the energy industry looked like, and hey presto! Powershop was born.

Having toiled through those early start up years ourselves, we love supporting fledgling businesses and awesome ideas. So this year, we got involved in the Wellington Low Carbon Challenge (WLCC). This event brings together Wellington innovators to support sustainable projects in housing and building, energy, transport, and waste.

Every year, more and more ideas are being submitted to the challenge, and this year was no exception. 36 incredible teams put forward their applications, making it a hard job for the selection panel (with members from across the city and different sectors) to pick the final six who would go on to take part.

Right now, the six selected teams are in the final stages of workshopping their ideas and getting their pitches together, ahead of a “Dragon’s Nest” event with investors, business leaders, partners and alumni which will take place in early October. After this, their businesses will be pushed out to the public when they each launch a crowdfunding campaign, which finishes up at the end of November.

Let’s meet this year’s teams!

Jack, with one of his Organic Dynamic surf boards.

Jack Candlish is a keen surfer who created Organic Dynamic after realising the environmental cost of making surfboards. By using 100% locally recycled EPS (expanded polystyrene) foam, NZ timber which is grown on a dairy farm to prevent livestock runoff, and a plant based resin, Organic Dynamic boards produce a tenth of the C02 of standard surfboards and should last a lifetime.

Matt Lamason and Murray Shearer are the brains behind Kapiti Biodiesel Lab, a project to create local fuel resilience. Utilising second hand waste cooking oils, they’ve create a carbon neutral fuel that keeps fossil fuel carbon in the ground. It’s like getting fuel from fish and chips!

Richard from Poly Palace shows some of his polystyrene building materials

Poly Palace has made a business out of reusing, repurposing and recycling what others see as wasted resources. Richard Moore and Tim McVitty’s core goal is home affordability. Their ‘Earth Dingy’ creates a quality, affordable, durable and comfortable habitable environment at the lowest cost, using waste materials such as polystyrene.

Wast-ed are all about educating wasters. By advocating and educating, Sarah Child, Jemma Buckland and Ali Kirkpatrick’s project will increase knowledge and shift behaviour to secure a clean green “PURE” New Zealand.

Bev Walter, Bren Murrell, Nick Halley and Jess Halley created Gurgl New Zealand, a social enterprise offering a library for preloved baby and infant clothing. Their project is all about recycling, and reducing waste, landfill and the impact of ‘fast-fashion’.

Last but certainly not least is the Wā Collective, a Wellington based social enterprise which provides a solution to period waste, period poverty and the period taboo. Olie Body, Marie Larking, Suse Berwick and Luci Jackson – the team behind Wā Collective – currently partner with students’ associations to bring subsidised menstrual cups to tertiary students. The next step is to offer Wā Collective to the general public.

For more information about this year’s teams, or if you want to get involved with the challenge next year, be sure to sign up to the WLCC newsletter.

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