Firm in pole position




A Tauranga fruit marketing company has been awarded more export licences to distribute kiwifruit to Australia and avocados to parts of South East Asia, as well as Australia — a feat it credits to using Business Mentors New Zealand.

The Pole to Pole group picks, packs, distributes and markets fruit for several hundred growers across the country. Founder Todd Abrahams, who started the business 11 years ago, said demand for New Zealand fruit domestically and overseas was at record levels.

“Pole to Pole has grown a lot in the past couple of years and confidence across the industry is high — but we need to ensure we have the supply available to meet the demand.”

It was currently looking for more suppliers to come on board. The 42-year-old attributes much of the company’s recent growth to the hard work of his team and business mentor Cliff Osborne. Mr Osborne was a volunteer for Business Mentors New Zealand, a not-for-profit organisation that provides guidance and support to SMEs looking to succeed. The pair first met 18 months ago.

“Cliff was able to take a look at our business, offer his advice and act as a sounding board for our ideas and growth plans. He was an invaluable second pair of eyes and was able to ensure we had a lot of the basics up to scratch to deal with the growth we were planning for. That growth means we now need more suppliers in place to help ensure we can sustain it—it’s a great place to be in.”

Mr Osborne had worked as a strategic planning and leadership consultant for large firms across the world and has been mentoring small and medium sized businesses in the Bay of Plenty region since 2003. It was his way of giving back to the community, he said.

“No matter the business or its size, the fundamentals of business remain the same—they all want to be agile and to thrive,” he said.

“Being a business mentor means I can use the experience I’ve picked up working with some of the biggest firms in the world and apply it to support small businesses locally.

“Pole to Pole Fresh is a growing business with a lot of potential. Todd and the team’s ambition is impressive.”

Pole to Pole Fresh acts as a route to market for suppliers growing avocados, kiwifruit, passionfruit, feijoas, tamarillos and citrus fruits.