Kaeo woman Dominique Heileson has won this year's Northland AMP regional scholarship, which puts her in the running for a $5000 People's Choice bonus.
She and eight other regional winners, each of whom received $5000, are eligible for the bonus, which will be decided by public votes.
Votes can be cast by texting their chosen candidate's first name to 2948. (Standard SMS charges and terms/conditions apply — go to www.amp.co.nz for details). Voting closes on October 21.
Dominique, 37, said her dream was to develop a global market for her bespoke leather goods, marketed under the name Eekie, using every piece of leather, reducing waste to less than one per cent, creating employment in Northland in the process.
The AMP scholarship would go towards creating three home-based jobs, and entering the 2019 International Independent Handbag Designer Awards in New York.
AMP managing director Blair Vernon said the talent, dedication and courage of this year's scholarship applicants had made choosing the recipients extremely rewarding, as well as particularly challenging.
"This year AMP will provide up to $200,000 to help inspirational and gifted New Zealanders of all ages and from all walks of life who have the courage to chase their dreams, whether it's a desire to start a new business, launch a social enterprise or to win gold for New Zealand at the Olympics," he said.
"Since 1998 AMP is proud to have granted more than $2.4 million towards helping more than 300 everyday Kiwis realise their dreams and to contribute in meaningful and profound ways to our communities.
"We will continue to help foster greatness in our gifted dreamers, and we look forward to helping talented Kiwis like Dom go on to achieve tremendous things."