Five finalists have been announced for this year's round of Innovate Whanganui.
The Dragon's Den-style competition puts local entrepreneurs in front of a panel of judges to compete for a $5000 cash prize.
it is a collaboration between economic development agency Whanganui & Partners and Palmerston North business collective The Factory.
Strategic lead for business at Whanganui and Partners, Tim Easton, said there were more than 30 entries this year.
Ideas could be in their very initial stages or be a prototype of a product.
"It can be something that has been percolating for a long time but needs further development, or it can be an initiative that is investment-ready.
The selection panel was impressed by many of the finalists' willingness to recognise where they were lacking the skills or insight into making their innovations successful, he said.
"Seeking and accepting advice - even when that advice is confronting – is essential for businesses to thrive."
The winner of last year's inaugural event was Vaughan Campbell and his idea for an eco distillery using baked goods, otherwise destined for landfill, to make vodka.
Entrants had to describe a problem and how the idea/product would solve it, identify a customer base, think through how the product would make money, and explain how they would execute their plan.
The five finalists for 2022 are Abbi and Rodney Calman and their mobile wheel chock, Alan Smith's wound treatment Ouchie Powder, Julia Lee Hanson's pet memorial jewellery, Laura Buchanan's pottery pop-up service and Stacy Foskett's emergency grab bag for children.
Before making their final pitch on August 25, they will embark on a 10-week accelerator programme, which Easton said was where "the real magic" happened.
"All the finalists are looking for help – that's the point of Innovate, but they all also recognised that support is not just a capital investment.
"Support is developing and utilising an infrastructure for success – finding the people and guidance relevant to your innovation, business or unmet potential."
Each finalist will have tailored support and be paired with mentors, as well as have access to the mentor pool The Factory has built over the last 12 years.
They will also receive $3000 in capital tagged to specific milestones determined by those
Acting chief executive of The Factory, Nick Gain, said Innovate was "a proven model".
The first competition was held in Manawatū in 2011.
"It sets out to find those that are stuck or have a novel idea and need a bit of guidance to
push forward," Gain said.
"We were delighted at the quality of applications received and it was tough to select the top five."