Matthew van der Werff and Terry Southern founded Beta Solutions, an electronic engineering consultancy, in 2008 in Matthew’s sleepout attached to his garage. The pair became good mates while studying a Bachelor of Engineering, majoring in Mechatronics, at Massey University in Palmerston North.
After spending a few years working in the electronics industry, they saw an opportunity to start their own electronic design service in the city.
Beta Solutions specialises in electronic product design and development, creating hi-tech products like aviation GPS tracking systems, tank monitoring devices, LED lighting systems and advanced motor controllers for clients all around New Zealand, including Resene, Ravensdown, and Biolumic, plus international clients as well.
“We are privileged to partner with so many entrepreneurs and innovative businesses to help transform their ideas into reality,” said Beta Solutions Chief Executive Terry Southern.
From a modest beginning, they built Beta Solutions from the ground (well, garage) up. After outgrowing their small office in the sleepout, they shifted into The Factory’s co-working space where they learnt the basics of building a company.
In 2016 they were again outgrowing the space and set about to find their own premises. Today, their team can be found in a purposely designed office space that stretches across the first floor of an inner-city building that overlooks Broadway Avenue. Stylish greenery hangs from the walls and divides the open plan office space from the communal areas. At one end of the office is a table tennis table and the other is mini-golf – the company’s professional, yet fun, people-focused culture is evident as soon as you walk in.
Being engineers, building something was not daunting, but early on Matthew and Terry recognised they needed support to help them grow and develop their company.
They connected with our team of Business Growth Advisors in 2012 and have worked with a Business Growth Advisor over the past eight years, receiving support in several ways to help them achieve their business goals. This has included Callaghan Innovation Fellowship and Student Experience Grants, and connection to training providers to help develop their senior leadership team and build better governance skills, through the Regional Business Partner programme.
Southern said being able to work with a Business Growth Advisor has helped them to pinpoint the specific areas they needed to upskill in – leadership, governance, sales and negotiation training.
Beta Solutions has invested in developing processes, modernising equipment and expanding their service offerings. They have also established a board of directors as a result of governance training and Southern said this leadership has been pivotal to the company’s success.
“The board helps to guide us in key areas around the future of our business and strategies, so we are not just focused on management issues.”
The company also employed two Massey University graduates who worked for them over the university summer break through Callaghan Innovation’s Student Experience Grants. The students worked on specific internal research and development projects in areas the company identified to innovate in, and Beta Solutions employed them at the end of their study.
“Being able to hire someone like a Massey University graduate who has already worked with us for a period of time, has been great for our business growth.”
van der Werff said the company has experienced significant growth over the past decade. “Moving forward, we will continue to focus on using our experience and culture of continuous learning to design excellent and commercially viable products for our clients.”
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In partnership with Callaghan Innovation, CEDA works with businesses of all sizes across the Manawatu-Whanganui region, providing a range of innovation and research and development services to suit each stage of growth.