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Future Outlook: Oliver Hunt's medical waste business wins $100,000 entrepreneurial award

Oliver Hunt has won the $100,000 Dream Believe Succeed award for his company, MedSalv, which reprocesses single-use medical devices and sells them back to hospitals for lower prices than originally paid.

A young Cantabrian is determined to make hospitals more environmentally friendly – and an award win could make his dream a reality.

Oliver Hunt, 23, on Tuesday won the $100,000 Dream Believe Succeed Foundation award, started in 2017 by Christchurch's own entrepreneurial success Steve Brooks.

Last year Hunt started MedSalv, a company that works with hospitals to reduce their costs as well as their environmental impact.

Its aim is to reprocess single-use medical devices, such as pulse reading devices and blood pressure sleeves, and return them to hospitals at a lower cost than the original devices.

"I'm overwhelmed really, there were so many good companies in the competition. The award is going to be massive for MedSalv," Hunt said.

The award includes $20,000 cash, $60,000 worth of marketing, $10,000 of accounting support, a $5000 legal package, as well as mentoring from a successful entrepreneur in the industry.

MedSalv was Hunt's project for his Masters of Engineering Management at the University of Canterbury. He also won a 2017-2018 UC Centre for Entrepreneurship Summer Startup scholarship.

"The business can deliver huge benefits to healthcare in New Zealand because really there is a lot of wastage and a lot of lost savings," he said.

MedSalv was working with the Canterbury District Health Board to implement the reprocessing, which Hunt said was comparable, in terms of waste, to the country's use of single-use plastic bags.

"I'm a skier and a surfer and I spend a lot of time in the environment, which has made me really passionate about it."

Brooks said he started the award as a way to give back to young Christchurch entrepreneurs.

"There was no competition or any way to support young entrepreneurs when I was at high school, so I've always had it as a goal of mine to start something like this," he said.

He started his first business at the age of 12, repurposing old bikes and lawn mowers from the dump. His business success continued and he bought his first rental property at 16.

Now 30 years old, Brooks has business interests in an array of industries, including property development, hospitality and beauty therapy.

"I initially started the award through my old high school, Christchurch Boys' High, but I thought 'Why don't I take it further and make into an award I can run myself and tie on some other products and services and really give someone the best opportunity at becoming a successful entrepreneur?'," he said.

His advice for any budding business-minded youngsters? "Being an entrepreneur is all about taking risks, so just pump in and give it a go – what have you got to lose?"

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