Top Trail Hire and Tours of Kaikohe is the recipient of the second $30,000 grant of 2014 from the Top Energy Business Development Fund.

Top Trail operates cycle tours along the Twin Coast Cycle Trail and hires bicycles to people wanting to ride the trail on their own. Established in 2012, it was the first company to take commercial advantage of the cycle trail.

The company will use the grant to expand its operation and to enhance its online marketing presence.

Top Trail markets the Twin Coast Cycle Trail to both domestic and international visitors. It has developed a product range that exploits the full potential of the Northland trail and has worked with other suppliers and tourism promotion organisations to deliver this.

Deals with local accommodation and food providers help bring much-needed revenue to small communities along the cycle trail. And an agreement with Fullers has helped Top Trail develop an end-to-end service for visiting cruise ship passengers.

“The judges liked the fact that Top Trail is already generating benefit for other local businesses and that once the cycle trail is complete it will play a leading role in opening up the interior of the Far North to international tourists,” said Top Energy chief executive Russell Shaw.

Top Energy launched the Business Development Fund this year as a replacement for the Tall Poppy Business Awards. The scheme is designed to encourage and promote economic growth in the Far North. Grants of up to $30,000 are awarded twice a year for local business ideas or initiatives that have the potential to grow or diversify the Far North economy.

The money is either awarded in full to a single stand-out idea or in smaller amounts to several initiatives, depending on the number, quality and merit of the applications received.

Ten companies responded to the call for submissions, advertised in local print and broadcast media during September.

Shortlisted applicants made detailed submissions and presentations to a panel of judges comprising a member of the Top Energy management team and two former Tall Poppy Awards judges; Jim Makaweo, business development consultant and founder of Makana Confections, and John Halse, formerly of Enterprise Northland and now a business consultant.

Application forms for the first Top Energy Business Development Fund grant of 2015 will be available on the Top Energy website from the beginning of March.

For more information please contact:
Peter Heath / 09-4074695 / 021-456353


Belinda Peddie, Top Energy / 09-4070603.