The deadline is looming for Northlanders to enter a business accelerator competition which aims to strengthen the entrepreneurial talent in the region through free workshops.
Entries for The Pick:2019, close on February 13, with 43 participants already signed up for the 12 once-weekly workshops focusing on everything from business basics to inspiration.
Five venture proposals will win regionally sourced prize packages ranging from professional business development support to entertainment experiences.
Prizes will be awarded for hard work, exciting prospects, global potential, benefit to Northland, use of local natural resources, and ''innovation that's good for the world'', which is the theme of the upcoming Tech Week.
The first workshop kicks off on March 5, with one held each week until May 28.
Jessica Henderson, early stage growth adviser at Northland Inc, said The Pick:2019 was open to any Northlander with an existing business or business idea who wants to "get stuck in and learn heaps".
"There are no age, skill or stage of business limits. Anyone who wants to learn more about how to go from idea to stratosphere can apply."
She said The Pick:19, now in its third year, was a free bootcamp for business.
"It should only take four hours a week for 12 weeks, at a time and location that suits the participant.
"The kaupapa of The Pick is to strengthen Northland's economy by building business capability into entrepreneurs. We know that many successful founders have failed or faltered before they hit the big one," she said.
"The business idea someone's working on right now might not be the one that succeeds but if we take that idea and use it to invest in the person behind it, we increase the chances of future success and we strengthen the entrepreneurial talent of Northland."
It would also "grow the eco-system which feeds and nurtures business growth in our region", Henderson said.
Launched as a business ideas competition in 2017, a whopping 147 entries were whittled down that year to 22 finalists who received mentorship through an accelerator programme.
Last year, through an investment-ready programme, the New Zealand Trade and Enterprise investment team helped The Pick participants prepare for capital investment.
A successful investment showcase resulted in the establishment of a Northland Angel investor network.
A number of previous years' winners receive founder incubator support funded by Callaghan Innovation, Northland Inc, The Orchard and Massey's e-centre to grow their businesses from start-up to scale-up.
Bruce Jarvis, Callaghan Innovation start-up manager, said Kiwis had a knack for solving problems and innovation was strong in Northland.
''But where we don't do so well is taking our innovation to the next stage toward commercialisation.
''That involves making the right connections, finding relevant support, and deeply understanding the road to successful commercialisation. Programmes like ThePick:2019 help start that journey," he said.
Participants can register at thepick.co.nz.