Sailing their way to business success from Cambridge

12 April 2017

A Waikato couple is ready to ride the crest of a wave taking them to the top of the boat building industry.

Eighteen months after establishing their Waipa company, Laszlo Boats, its founders Laszlo Kertesz and his partner Vera Bulsu have made significant strides in supply contracts.

Kertesz was employed as a boat builder with Kiwi International but the company went into liquidation in 2015. Kertesz turned the situation into an opportunity. He took over the company's assets, customer database, some staff and made the business his own.

The couple did not know many in the industry but realised there was demand for boat builders to serve the sport of rowing. Bulsu works as administrator, marketer and graphic designer for the business. She is keen to ensure the mistakes of the past aren't repeated and the potential of the business is realised.

Laszlo Boats operates out of a old diary factory in Tamahere. In 2016 it won the Excellence in New and Emerging Business Award, at the Waipa Business Awards.

The fledgling company received another confidence boost this year when it signed a deal to supply boats for the rowing component of the World Masters Games, to be held at Lake Karapiro at the end of April.

The business is keen to develop its brand in Australian and European markets. It has already supplied a rowing boat to a team in Argentina which will hopefully lead on to a long-term relationship and development of a new market.

Laszlo Boats contributes to the funding network for high performance athletes.The company buys back old boats, refurbishes them and on-sells to schools.

But for this Hungarian-born couple, their reasons for moving to New Zealand weren't initially focussed on running a business. Bulsu admits the decision was made after a glass of "Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc".

"Laszlo loved rowing. I loved wine. So we made the decision overnight and arrived in Auckland eight weeks later with our two suitcases," said Bulsu.

- Waikato Times

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