A Wairarapa woman is in the running for a national award recognising rural women in business.



Lucy Cruickshank, who runs Innov8 Aotearoa, is one of 16 women from around the country who are competing for the Rural Women New Zealand's Enterprising Rural Women Award 2012.



Ms Cruickshank's company is an export-focused food and beverage consultancy she set up after a decade of working in New Zealand agribusiness international sales and marketing.



The business, which is now almost three years old, works with start-ups and large, multimillion-dollar operations, she said.

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Ms Cruickshank said she wrote sales and marketing plans for businesses, generally exporters, and helped them to implement the plans.



Innov8 Aotearoa's main point of difference is a focus on rural food and beverage producers. The company is currently exporting products to Japan and Dubai for its clients and Ms Cruickshank recently sent her first order to South Africa.



There are many advantages to being based in Wairarapa, she said.



Most of her clients are from the area, but the cost of running a business here is a lot lower than being based in one of the main centres, while still being close to Wellington International Airport.



"It's an absolute privilege to work for the Wairarapa businesses that I'm associated with."



Ms Cruickshank's is not the first Wairarapa business to enter the awards, which are now in their fourth year.



Tora Coastal Walk, in southern Wairarapa, won the inaugural award in 2009.



That same year Bridget Canning, managing director of Masterton company WIZwireless, also entered.

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There are three categories in the awards: North Island, South Island and online.



The victor of each competes for the title of supreme winner.



Winners will be announced on the opening night of the Rural Women New Zealand national conference in Hawera on May 21.