And what a festival it was!

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Garage Project were overwhelmed at taking out top spot in our 2015 Fast 50 with a whopping growth of 664.29%. Brewing their infamous beers with unique flavours such as caramel malt, white tea, cornflakes and tart cherries has seen these guys rise to the top of what has traditionally been an industry dominated by big international brands. 

Deloitte private partner Bill Hale said the high level of diversity among this year's Fast 50 companies showed that any type of business could do well with the right approach. 

"This is important as it creates job opportunities across more than just the tech industry, and demonstrates that SME businesses can be successful in their niche with good strategy and good execution."

To put it in perspective, fifteen companies classified themselves as technology companies, twelve were consumer businesses, eight were from the construction industry and six were manufacturers. The remaining nine companies on the index were from the health, agribusiness, tourism, education and energy industries.

The festival

And while Garage Project's success was a highlight of this year's Fast 50 Festival of Growth, it was a fantastic day all round celebrating the country's top business talent with first-class speakers imparting their wisdom. 

We kicked off with stories from six entrepreneurs in a Ted talks style presentation with Geoff Ross (ex 42Below and Moa), Cecilia Robinson (My Food Bag), Victoria Crone (Xero), Vaughan Rowsell (Vend), Rowan Simpson (Hoku) and Dan Alpe (Jucy).

Attendee Laura Bell @lady_nerd tweeted out from that with a nugget of wisdom from Rowan, 'have an opinion, listen to experts and change your opinion' while another quoted Victoria @VicsterNZ who advocated for having a 'work life blend, not balance'.

Following on from that were four panel segments with topic such as 'How to grow the perfect culture', 'Heading into the US', 'How to engage in the digital age' and 'How to exit in style'. A huge thanks to our talented speakers including Nick Houldsworth from Vend, Jenene Crossan from Flossie, Chris Henderson from Pita Pit and Ryan Baker from Timely. 

Moving into the evening, guests were treated to some of NZ's finest brews as the brewers from Garage Project, MoaParrotDog, Panhead and Good George lined up to showcase their finest drops. Alternatively many chose to take a wine tour or spend time attempting to beat NZ's first BMX Olympian Sarah Walker in the BMX time trials. No one could actually beat her at 2.87 seconds however well done to Rowan Simpson who was 'our' winner with 3.25 seconds!

Our MC for the evening Jeremy Corbett aka The Fat Controller, knocked people's socks off the whole day with ironic "business wisdom" while asking the Garage Project guys not to get his 'ten year old mid-range suit' covered in beer. 

The Fast 50 countdown was a reminder of all the stellar talent we have in our tiny but mighty country and we're very hopeful about the future of NZ business. Congrats to all who made it onto the list and who joined us on the day! See the full list of results here.


Make sure you take a look at our special ezine produced by Fairfax that profiles our top Fast 50 companies!

See more event photos on our Fast 50 Facebook page here. Full media coverage is here.

The facts

  • The threshold for entry into the Fast 50 this year was 194% - down from 201% last year
  • This year's Fast 50 companies grew the economy by $312 million
  • 1600 jobs were created by Fast 50 companies in the preceding 3 years
  • The top 3 challenges facing companies are skills, culture and turnover


Senior Marketing Manager for Deloitte Private

I'm into sharing kiwi success stories and cool content!