A dairy-free ice cream maker and a company that distributes plastic manhole chambers are among the winners of The Pick:19.

The Pick is a Northland Inc boot camp-come-business accelerator competition, helping start-up entrepreneurs shape and present their good idea. This year, The Picks' third outing, the subject was based on sustainability.

The panel of judges met last Friday via Zoom to cast their final votes and announce the five winners.

Whittled down from a shortlist of 15, they were Absolute Stainless, Australasia Moulding, Grinning Gecko, My Goodness! (Wellkit Foods) and Olive & Ash. The Judges' Choice nomination went to Matakohe Architecture and Urbanism.


Absolute Stainless is a Whangārei-based innovator and manufacture of a trolley that makes storing a jet ski on superyachts easy and safe.

Australasia Moulding supplies quality European-designed plastic manhole chambers.

Grinning Gecko is a Whangārei cheesemaker.

My Goodness! (Wellkit Foods) makes dairy and gluten-free, vegan ice cream with persimmons grown just north of Whangārei a main ingredient.

Olive & Ash produces Vince, 100 per cent plant-based, dehydrated vegetable mince – just add water and it is ready to eat in two minutes.

Matakohe Architecture and Urbanism are Te Tai Tokerau-focused architects who design spaces and places that embody the culture, history and aspirations of the community.

Joseph Stuart, Northland Inc. general manager of business innovation and growth, said: "The quality of the top five represents a great opportunity for Northland – it highlights the entrepreneurial spirit and depth of skills that are available in this region.

"All of the winners are perfectly positioned to make an impression on the global landscape."


The judging process concentrated on six key areas: the strength of the business model, strength and validity of the idea; the positive impact on Northland; use of Northland's natural resources; global potential; and its innovation.

More than 80 people registered for The Pick:19, with its 12 once-weekly workshops, run in association with The Orchard, Callaghan Innovation, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, the New Zealand Regional Business Partner Network and Ecentre.

The winners receive a Northland Chamber of Commerce membership and business mentor through the Business Mentor Association, which is sponsored in turn by the Northland Chamber of Commerce.

They also receive dinner, bed and breakfast for two at The Duke of Marlborough Hotel in Russell, and a media release and business profile, including photographs.