Prize fund now $150,000 - full Project Phoenix details released

Apr 18, 2020

It's been a time of exciting developments for Project Phoenix, so we thought we should summarise everything into one article for everyone who plans to enter.

Project Phoenix chair Jonathan Gurnsey - a wealth of global business and investment experience

Project Phoenix is an initiative to find the best ideas to help our community bounce back from Covid-19. Our expert panel will not only act as judges, but also bring their experience, funding networks and advice to the project.

Plus – our prize package from sponsors has increased to a total of $150,000 and we detail below what each winner will receive.

But – and it’s a very big and positive but – no great ideas will get ignored just because they do not win the competition. Our goal is to help as many ideas as possible to become a reality and help our community recover as quickly as possible from both the social and economic effects of Covid-19.

Here’s the three categories for the competition – entries close on Friday April 24th at 5.00 pm and should be no more than 2 A4 pages sent as a PDF file to [email protected]

To enter you need to live in Queenstown, Cromwell or Wanaka. Please state clearly on each entry who is entering – a group or an individual.

Best New Idea. This is the best concept for a new local business that will generate new jobs and revenue for the region. Open to individuals or groups. The entry should detail what problem the idea solves, how much time and money it will take to launch and what the eventual benefits could be, financially and socially, for our region.

Here are the detailed guidelines that the judging panel will use.

  •     What’s the idea – is it original/unique to the region? (out of 5)

We are looking for something that has a unique value proposition

  •     How practical/realistic is the idea? Time of launch? (out of 10)

Is there a clear path to launching? Can it be launched within a short period of time? Does it have a realistic chance of success? Do they have the       resources   to make this idea a reality?

  •     Scale - potential (out of 10)

Does this idea have the potential to scale or be high growth? Could it scale beyond the region?

  •     Impact - sustainability / jobs / revenue etc (out of 10)

What will the short term impact be? Will it create jobs and attract revenue to the region?  Is there a focus on sustainability?

  •     Team/Individual Capability (out of 5)

Who is the person presenting this idea? What is their background? Have they assembled a team? Are their skills/experience suitable for their proposition?


Shortlisted ideas will be contacted by the expert panel for further details and finalists will have the chance to take part in a Zoom interview with the panel. Submissions will remain confidential until a long form NDA is put in place for shortlisted finalists.

Best Transformational Project. This is for the best plan that would see an existing business adapt to the new post-Covid 19 world.

This category will be judged using the following guidelines:

What’s the idea – is it clear?
How well does it use existing resources? 
Scale – potential of the idea.
Impact - sustainability / jobs / revenue  
Practicality of implementation – are there any big obstacles?

Shortlisted ideas will be contacted by the expert panel for further details and finalists will have the chance to take part in a Zoom interview with the panel. Submissions will remain confidential until a long form NDA is put in place for shortlisted finalists.

Best Community Impact. This category is looking for the idea that will make the most positive social impact on our community. Will it help morale, build confidence, help people, increase a sense of purpose or identity, improve our physical/mental health – build teams? If the idea also generates jobs and revenue – then that’s a bonus!

This category will be judged online via both the Crux Facebook page and the Crux website. Only shortlisted ideas will be part of the online vote. The final decision will be a combination of community voting and the expert panel’s input.

Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford pledged his support for good community ideas from our region when he visited on March 19th.



The winner of each category will receive the following prize package. Note that Project Phoenix will endeavour to help all strong, practical and viable entries – whether they win or not.

The value of each prize package is at least $50,000 – a total of $150,000.

A huge thank you to our sponsors and partners who have made the prize fund possible.


Two Bearded Men and Crux will produce three mini-documentary style pitch videos that will help each of the top three ideas communicate their core ideas, profiling their top person or people in order to secure both official support and funding.

Whitelaw Mitchell. A seed marketing strategy session to define a route to market and a clear execution plan.

Deloitte – will provide to each of the category winners a package of advice and access to expertise in relation to tax, business structures and accounting strategy up to the value of $5,000.

Mactodd - is offering three support packages worth the equivalent of $5,000 to each of the winners that will assist with the choice and establishment of the business structure and other related legal arrangements so it is “investment ready”.

Mountain Club will provide office space and meeting facilities for three months for each winner at their world class base in Frankton.

Whitelaw Mitchell. Will provide 20% off a branding and website package, capped at $5,000 value – per winner.

All of the winners will benefit from the involvement of our volunteer expert panel.

Register here for all Project Phoenix Updates and if you plan to enter.

Keep visiting the Project Phoenix Crux page for background stories and all new developments as the project progresses.

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