Medical tech company takes home supreme business prize at Gold Awards

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Dr Ralph Highnam, chief executive officer and chief scientist of Volpara Health Technologies, accepts the Cyber Gold award, at Wellington's Gold Awards on Thursday night. Volpara also won the supreme award.

Ross Giblin/Stuff

Dr Ralph Highnam, chief executive officer and chief scientist of Volpara Health Technologies, accepts the Cyber Gold award, at Wellington’s Gold Awards on Thursday night. Volpara also won the supreme award.

A Wellington-based medical technology company that develops cancer screening software has been crowned the supreme award winner at Thursday night’s Wellington business Gold Awards.

Volpara Health Technologies took home the overall award, which was presented by Finance Minster Grant Robertson and The Dominion Post editor Anna Fifield at TSB Arena, after winning the Cyber category earlier in the evening.

The company was founded in 2009, with its Wellington-based headquarters established by chief executive officer and chief scientist Dr Ralph Highnam.

Volpara specialise in developing software used in the early detection of breast cancer, which kills about 600 New Zealanders a year, and about 500,000 women worldwide.

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Dr Ralph Highnam, chief executive officer and chief scientist of Volpara Health Technologies, accepts the Cyber Gold award, at Wellington's Gold Awards on Thursday night. Volpara also won the supreme award.

Ross Giblin/Stuff

Dr Ralph Highnam, chief executive officer and chief scientist of Volpara Health Technologies, accepts the Cyber Gold award, at Wellington’s Gold Awards on Thursday night. Volpara also won the supreme award.

“Our mission is very much to prevent advanced stage breast cancer,” Highnam said, when accepting his first award of the night.

Volpara’s technology is now being used to screen 10 million women a year in the United States.

The company has established a foothold in the US and has 171 staff, 79 of which are based in Wellington.

“It’s amazing how good Wellington is in terms of IT,” Highnam said.

Members of the region’s food and drink sector were big winners on Thursday, with the capital’s Fix & Fogg peanut butter producer collecting the Global award, and Upper Hutt’s Brewtown hospitality quarter and Wellington’s Six Barrel Soda Co. taking out the Emerging awards in the respective Services and Products categories.

The Gold Awards Tribute to a Wellington Icon winner, Sinead Boucher.

Ross Giblin/Stuff

The Gold Awards Tribute to a Wellington Icon winner, Sinead Boucher.

Stuff owner Sinead Boucher was also celebrated at the event where she was the subject of a Tribute to an Icon honour by Dame Therese Walsh.

“Sinead has shown courage and secured us a much loved, used and relied on service and on a daily basis challenges, inspires and protects us at a time when that is fundamental and underpins the functioning of a safe, democratic and well functioning society,” Walsh said.

In May, Boucher brought the media company for a dollar from Australian owner Nine Entertainment, returning it to New Zealand ownership.

Stuff owns the Stuff news site and a stable of newspapers, including The Dominion Post, The Press, and The Sunday Star-Times.

“It is a great honour,” Boucher said of the special tribute. “I’ve never once regretted the decision we made [to buy Stuff], because it has been the most important year to make sure we can still be publishing The Dominion Post, Stuff, and all the other papers around the country.”

The Gold Awards, now running it its 22nd year, celebrate the Wellington region’s business community. About 900 people attended this year.

The Dominion Post is the lead sponsor of the event.

Awards director John Dow said 2020 had been an extraordinary year with the Coronavirus pandemic, lockdown and restrictions bringing unique challenges.

“It is quite remarkable what our Wellington businesses are achieving, many on the international stage, despite the obstacles inherent in global markets this past year,” he said.

THE DOMINION POST WELLINGTON GOLD AWARDS

SUPREME AWARD: Volpara Health Technologies

CREATIVE GOLD: Dinosaur Polo Club

CYBER GOLD: Volpara Health Technologies

INNOVATION GOLD: The Nova Platform – Eight360

EMERGING GOLD – PRODUCTS: Six Barrel Soda Co.

EMERGING GOLD – SERVICES: Brewtown

GLOBAL GOLD: Fix & Fogg

SUPPORTING GOLD: Hnry

VIBRANT GOLD: Golden Shears

ACC WORKPLACE SAFETY GOLD: Primary Ito

GREEN GOLD: Tranzurban

TEAM GOLD: Humankind

SPECIAL TRIBUTES: Sinead Boucher



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