Innovators looking to crack overseas markets have another chance to gain a share of $1 million as the University of Auckland Business School Entrepreneurs' Challenge kicks off for 2011.

Now in its third year, the challenge aims to help grow small-to-medium businesses by investing a share of $1 million in their operations in the form of a low-interest, three-year loan.

Greentide, one of last year's three winners, said its share of the cash allowed it to market its products internationally.

"We were missing a key piece of equipment which would have enabled us to increase our production base and the win ... let us buy our bio-reactor, which is the linchpin of our operation," said technical director Stephen Ford.

The business, which develops environmentally friendly pesticides, plans to move into the Californian market and is securing patents in China, Saudi Arabia and South Africa.

Another of the 2010 winners, Piako Gourmet Yoghurt, now has its goods on the shelves of luxury British department store Harrods.

Piako also signed a distribution deal with Fonterra last month that will put its yoghurt in supermarkets around New Zealand.

Winners from the first challenge in 2009 include Allpress Espresso, which used the money to build a cafe and coffee roastery in East London.

The challenge was founded using a $3 million endowment from New Zealand expatriate and former member of the Business Roundtable Charles Bidwell.

Winners are selected by a committee that includes Kim Crawford Wines co-founder Erica Crawford, science and technology investor Neville Jordon and former Forsyth Barr executive director Don Turkington.

Entries are now open and must be in by July 25.