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Meat industry innovator wins Entrepreneur of the Year

Craig Hickson founded his Hawke's Bay company, Progressive Meats, in 1981.

Nevil Gibson
Thu, 15 Oct 2015

The founder of Hawke’s Bay-based Progressive Meats, Craig Hickson, has been named EY Entrepreneur of the Year for 2015.

He will represent New Zealand at EY’s World Entrepreneur of the Year event in Monaco next June, competing for the title with winners from more than 60 countries.

The chairman of judges, Greg Cross, says Mr Hickson demonstrates a level of innovation and entrepreneurship that is unusual and exceptional in a traditional industry.

Mr Cross, who retires from the judging panel this year after five years as chairman, says the focus of entrepreneurs has changed since he first took on the role.

“In the beginning, most of the entrepreneurs we saw as judges were from traditional industries," he says. “But the variety of business models we are now seeing is quite exceptional. And, as this year’s winner demonstrates, the focus is on constant improvement and continuous innovation.

“Overall, the calibre of entrepreneurs in New Zealand just gets better and better across all categories.”

Mr Hickson, who established his meat processing business in 1981, won the products category and was selected as overall winner from a field of five others in four categories.

They were:
Services: John Wikstrom (Magic Memories) 
Technology and emerging industries: Hamish Kennedy (Compac)
Young entrepreneur: Chris Heaslip and Eliot Crowther (Pushpay)
Master: Wayne Wright (BestStart)

Waikato fashion designer and retailer Annah Stretton is the ASB Social Entrepreneur of the Year for 2015. She was an Entrepreneur of the Year category winner in 2005 and is also a writer, women’s advocate and philanthropist.

Her fashion company, Stretton Group, was founded in 1992. She was awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2009 for her services to fashion, business and the community.

Nevil Gibson
Thu, 15 Oct 2015
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Meat industry innovator wins Entrepreneur of the Year