Wool levy funds 7 entrepreneurial projects

12/07/2011

Seven entrepreneurial projects using wool will share half a million dollars from Beef + Lamb NZ.

The cash comes from a contestable fund set up to share out the remaining wool levies, with the money going to businesses demonstrating the greatest potential to pump money back into the wool industry – and ultimately, into farmers’ pockets.

Some of the projects aim to do this by achieving savings through the development of tools and systems for improved efficiency and consistency. Others are focused on increasing demand for wool through research and the creation of new products and niche markets.

The successful applicants were chosen by an advisory panel from 28 bids by farmer groups, wool industry service providers and manufacturers.

B+LNZ Chief Operating Officer, Cros Spooner says it was exciting to review all 28 projects. “It shows there is some genuine passion and talent with companies involved in the New Zealand wool industry.”

“We believe each of the seven projects we’ve funded has a very real chance of delivering value back to New Zealand farmers, which is great news.”

To ensure the Wool Levy Fund distribution improves returns for wool growers, applicants were required to show their commitment to investing time, money and resources in the success of the project. Each of the successful projects will be matched 50:50 with funding from the applicant group.

  • Eastbourne-based Potroz-Smith Technologies Ltd is researching the production
    of an environmentally friendly, super absorbent wool-based material for use in
    personal hygiene and wound-care products that will be natural, non-toxic and
    biodegradable.
  • NZ Wool Services International will focus on developing practical tools to
    avoid underweight bales, which currently cost the industry an estimated
    $4million a year. The company is based in Christchurch.
  • Wellington company and sustainable textile inventor The Formary is looking
    at blending New Zealand strong wool and a waste material to develop a range of
    commercial and domestic interior products.
  • Wool Partners International and Banks Peninsula Wool Growers Group are
    working together to develop a truly sustainable carpet using natural processes
    and materials, including low pesticide, ethically-produced, traceable New
    Zealand wool.
  • Invercargill’s Alliance Group plans to incorporate wool production into its
    Hoofprint software package (developed in conjunction with Dunedin-based
    AbacusBio to measure on-farm carbon footprints). The company will work with NZ
    wool producers and marketers to gain extra market value for Hoofprint-accredited
    wool products.
  • Wool’s eco-friendly properties are the basis for a project by Matamata
    manufacturer Wool Equities, which will carry out market research, design and
    produce samples, and establish markets for high value bed blankets for premium
    international markets.
  • The New Zealand Shearing Contractors’ Association will use the funding to
    establish a quality assurance programme, underpinning recent work to ensure
    accredited shearing operators provide consistent product descriptions and
    demonstrate socially sound and sustainable business practices.

RadioNZ has a story on one of the recipients. Protroz-Smith Technologies is developing a super absorbent wool-based material called NatraZorb, to be used in disposable nappies, personal hygiene and wound care products .


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