Local scooter business speeds towards growth

Friday 11 July 2008, 1:09AM
By Pete Hodgson


Eco-friendly scooter and skateboard company X-Rides Ltd is ramping up its growth prospects, exploring opportunities to franchise the Wellington-region business and undertaking research and development to further improve its products.

Economic Development Minister Pete Hodgson and Associate Economic Development Minister Luamanuvao Winnie Laban visited the company’s workshop in Plimmerton today.

X-Rides, which originally imported motorised scooters and skateboards from China to use as hire vehicles in New Zealand and Australia, have since upgraded the electrical components for their own designs, paying particular attention to motor efficiency and environmental impacts.

X-Rides’ products are hired for events and it also runs adventure tourism activities using them, such as eco-tours through nature reserves.

“They have worked hard to build a strong brand image in New Zealand, which has helped them attract investors. This is allowing them to continue their research and development programme, which in turn they hope will eventually lead to international opportunities for their business,” Pete Hodgson said.

In the meantime they are looking at expanding their business around New Zealand. A study into the feasibility of franchising is being undertaken with the help of a capability building grant from New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE). The company will match NZTE’s funding from the grant, which it also plans to use to help develop an e-commerce strategy, marketing plan and brand design.

Winnie Laban said it was great to see ambitious people running businesses like X-Rides.

"I hope that they will be able to take their first steps into exporting before long. I would also encourage motivated owners of small businesses to look at schemes available to help them build up their skills and growth in their business," Winnie Laban said.