A Havelock North nutritionist and mother of four has won the inaugural Innovate Hawke's Bay contest alongside her business partners who have created a healthy baby food line.
Gina Urlich has teamed up with three others including husband Dylan Urlich and Tauranga couple Emily and Andy Spear to create a new business called Norish.
Norish will be launched in early 2022 through a new website and also over social media.
The group were crowned winners of the inaugural Innovate Hawke's Bay contest during a big awards night in Hastings last week.
The contest has long been held in Manawatū but branched out to Hawke's Bay this year to help entrepreneurs and start-ups, and included a 10-week mentoring programme for all seven Hawke's Bay finalists.
Urlich, who currently has about 30,000 followers on Instagram who enjoy her health and nutrition tips, said her team was blown away by the award which included a $5000 prize.
Urlich said the new product line was aimed at filling a gap in the market for nutrient-rich baby food.
She said they used "innovative technology that locks in nutrients" from whole foods.
"It is in a powder form and it does not have to be refrigerated or frozen and has a shelf life of two years.
"It is a convenient option for mothers and families to have instant baby food that retains the nutrients without the use of synthetic vitamins or minerals."
The product line will include puree sachets as well as meal and smoothie "add ins" the latter of which will come in a tin.
"We'd like to see it have an impact on diet-related diseases in children, that is our ultimate goal, to have an impact in reducing things like type-two diabetes and obesity and nutrient deficiencies in children."
Urlich has plenty of experience in infant nutrition and has even written a popular book called Tiny Human What Do I Feed You.
She also operates a private clinic, Gina Urlich, specialising in women's health and infant nutrition.
She said the new baby food line would also help busy mums going back to work by offering a healthy and quick option.
"Over the past 20 years, mothers have experienced the largest increase in employment rates, with 74 per cent going back to work after having children.
"Convenience is a necessity for the modern day family, it shouldn't be at the expense of their children's health."
Co-founders Emily and Andy Spear run a business in the baby feeding equipment market called Petite Eats and have used their experience to help the product.
Dave Craig, chief executive at The Factory, which organised Innovate Hawke's Bay, said he planned to have the contest return again next year.
"[The awards night] was extra special to be able to run a live event.
"We're stoked that Hawke's Bay has welcomed The Factory into the region and our
intention is that this is the first of many years to come."
He gave a huge thank you to the sponsors who helped Innovate go ahead.