The Waikato’s technology sector is in growth mode and emerging agri-tech MilkTechNZ just proved it.

The Te Rapa, Hamilton, company invented wireless milking shed cup removers in the last year, earning it a double whammy at the Waikato Chamber of Commerce Business Awards on November 4.

MilkTechNZ chief executive Gustavo Garza was presented with the Chief Executive of the Year Award after receiving the Company-X Innovation Award from Company-X co-founder and director Jeremy Hughes.

“It is great to see MilkTechNZ win the Company-X Innovation Award with a digital technology innovation,” Hughes said.

INNOVATIVE: MilkTechNZ chief executive Gustavo Garza, left, receives the Company-X Innovation Award from Company-X co-founder and director Jeremy Hughes.

MilkTechNZ’s CR-1 Electronic Milking Cup Removers can be fully customised and programmed from any Wi-Fi enabled device and include a built-in diagnostic system that alerts dairy farmers to any issues that arise during the milking cycle.

"Digital technology innovation is the area that Company-X works in and MilkTechNZ’s innovation and export success is another strong affirmation that New Zealand has the capacity to produce world leading digital technology,” Hughes said.

“It’s great to see more innovation companies basing themselves here in the Mighty Waikato,” said Company-X co-founder and director David Hallett.

"The Waikato technology sector's contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) is around $1.1 billion and climbing. New, innovative, companies like MilkTechNZ show this will continue to grow as they bring new innovations to market."

Cultivate Trust chair Erin Wansbrough said it was great to see an emerging Hamilton agri-tech company take out such a prestigious award for an innovative product sold here and overseas.

“The fact that MilkTechNZ was able to conceive and deliver an award-winning product during such a disruptive time shows how resilient the tech sector is, particularly here in the Waikato,” Wansbrough said.

“The future is bright.”

The trust recently launched the Tech in the Tron initiative to attract 500 skilled workers and their families to the Waikato from within New Zealand and overseas to grow the region's technology sector.

Waikato Chamber of Commerce Business Awards Chief Executive of the Year judges were inspired by Garza's entrepreneurial spirit, energy, and passion for his business.

“Gustavo sets aspirational goals and high standards. He shows a warmth and care toward his team that is genuine, and a satisfaction in progressing and enabling others that is humbling," the judges said.

“That was insane, it was not expected,” Garza said of the Chief Executive of the Year Award.

Although he had his heart set on his company, founded in 2018, winning the Company-X Innovation Award.

“Innovation is the DNA of the company,” he said. “The reason we have been so successful is that we are doing something completely different.”

The Company-X Innovation Award judges said Garza and the MilkTechNZ team had taken deep industry knowledge and built a business that provided innovative solutions to meet the market.

“These solutions were delivered with rapid succession over the past 12 months through a challenging economic backdrop,” the judges said. “Despite this MilkTechNZ managed to drive exceptional growth rates, their process of developing products that are scalable, while also continuing to grow is to be recognized and commended.”

The judges said they looked forward to watching MilkTechNZ continue to evolve and grow.

Previous winners of the Company-X Innovation Award include Yardmaster Effluent Pumps, Montana Group, and the Spring Sheep Milk Co.