Helen Twose

Personal finance and KiwiSaver columnist at the NZ Herald

Previous winner expands coffee firm into Japan

Allpress founder Michael Allpress has funded expansion with help from the Entrepreneurs' Challenge. Photo / Dean Purcell
Allpress founder Michael Allpress has funded expansion with help from the Entrepreneurs' Challenge. Photo / Dean Purcell

Coffee drinkers in Asia are in line for a caffeine jolt from local coffee roasters Allpress Espresso with the opening of a roastery in Japan.

Allpress founder Michael Allpress said the company is set to begin roasting at a new base in Tokyo by the end of the year and has already signed up several accounts.

One is to supply celebrity baker Dean Brettschneider's Singapore-based bakery and foodstore Baker & Cook.

It's been a busy few months for Allpress having also just inked a lease deal on an old factory site for a roastery in Melbourne's Collingwood suburb, joining a Sydney operation that has been roasting for more than 10 years.

The growth in the two territories comes less than two years after Allpress threw open the doors on its London business, a café and roastery in Shoreditch.

The company used funding from the University of Auckland Business School Entrepreneurs' Challenge to fast-track its move to London.

The Entrepreneurs' Challenge offers up to $1 million of low-interest finance to boost the growth of small- to medium-sized Kiwi companies.

Allpress could have funded the expansion into the British market through a bank loan but the Entrepreneurs' Challenge win gave the company unexpected associated benefits, Allpress said.

Entrepreneurs' Challenge partners Ernst & Young have come on board as the company's accountants and the award boosted its standing in the business community.

Entrepreneurs' Challenge investment committee chairman Brian Hannan said Allpress are a compellingly successful model for young entrepreneurs to study.

"They really know and understand their product and their market," Hannan said.

"They have a very strong people culture, they look after their own, they develop their own, they train their own, they train their customers' staff."

Allpress said the next 18 months will be about consolidation and recruiting the right people both locally and overseas.

Despite the company continually fielding inquiries from locations as far flung as San Francisco, Geneva, Milan and Brazil the current focus is on ensuring the business is "rock solid", he said.

"Although there is continuous opportunities running past the front door I don't feel that we'll miss out and it's better that we are in a position to truly take advantage of the opportunities and not get side-tracked."

Entries to this year's Entrepreneurs' Challenge close at 5pm, on July 30.

ON THE WEB www.entrepreneurschallenge.co.nz

- NZ Herald

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