AEDs are easy to use defibrillators

Heart Saver NZ

Some of the world’s most successful businesses started in the founders' spare bedrooms, and Mike and Helen Mander are on a mission to join that list with their growing business, Heart Saver NZ Ltd.

The company has now grown out of the bedroom and moved to offices in Kumeu, and the Manders are ready to tackle the New Zealand market thanks to help from ATEED West office’s business growth experts, who have been by the Manders’ side from the start.

Heart Saver specialises in marketing automated external defibrillators (AEDs) – easy to use, lightweight, battery-operated, portable devices that can be used to try to save the life of a person who is having sudden cardiac arrest.

Mike Mander decided to start the business in April 2012 after reaching a career crossroads. As a volunteer fire officer, he could see the benefits of AEDs carried on fire appliances, and the couple identified an emerging gap in the market.

“The concept of AEDs as portable resuscitation tools for work places and other sites is relatively new in New Zealand. Companies are starting to be aware they need to have an AED on site to prevent possible tragedies, and the growth potential is fantastic,” says Mike.

“As far as market growth is concerned, we started Heart Saver at the right time. And the knowledge of AEDs has come about at the right time to stop people dying unnecessarily.”

He says if someone suffers cardiac arrest, the time which ticks by as emergency services are called and rush to the scene can mean the difference between life and death.

It is all about work place training and AEDs in well-placed locations. If an AED is available, it often means the person is still alive when an ambulance crew arrives to take over,” says Mike.

“AEDs are not a replacement for emergency service experts. They make ambulance and fire officers’ jobs easier and help to save lives.”
With a market niche to be filled, the Manders sought expert help through Heart Saver’s growth phase. A friend’s recommendation led to them contacting ATEED West area office.

Despite promising early sales, they needed to expand their business connections. ATEED West was able to deliver, and also to help the Manders with crucial business growth tools.

“The suggestions and feedback we’ve received from ATEED West’s business advisors, Chris Fulford and now Gill Ellis, has been really valuable because they have run their own companies and know what it’s like.

“They’ve been really great to talk to and bounce ideas off. Their feedback is really practical and they are extremely down to earth,” says Mike.

“Sometimes you feel like you’re the only one going through this, so talking to someone who has been there before is just invaluable.”

Following ATEED’s standard initial business assessment, the Manders found out they could be eligible for part-funded training vouchers through New Zealand Trade & Enterprise. The scheme increases the capability of Kiwi business owners.

ATEED helped their successful application for business training vouchers, which linked the Manders to expert help from Debra Chantry – an experienced coach aligned with business growth experts The Icehouse – since December 2012.

ATEED also encouraged Heart Saver to enter the Westpac Auckland West Business Awards, and the feedback process was a good trigger to launch them towards further growth.

The Manders are passionate about making sure they meet customers’ needs, which means they need the right supplier for the right product. ATEED’s connections have enabled Heart Saver to find suppliers based in West Auckland which are excellent to deal with.

The Manders’ great relationship with Gill Ellis includes working on a long-term business strategy with her.

“Working with ATEED has been absolutely positive. The ongoing care has been great, with Gill checking in to see how we’re going, and passing along details of people we might want to have a chat to. Gill can advise about business growth, but the connections she can provide is where she has been gold for us.”

Mike says he was previously not fond of dealing with local government, but ATEED – Auckland Council’s economic growth agency – has helped to change his perception.

“ATEED has the connections and networking events growing businesses need, as long as you’re prepared to make the most of them. We like that ATEED is there to look after West Auckland business, and everything it does is so professionally run.”

With Heart Saver adding products and training services which have synergies with its core AED business, the company’s staff is growing. It has representation in the South Island and its next target is Wellington.

Mike Mander says: “We’re in the business growth phase, putting in place all the dominoes now to make sure we’re set up for future growth.
We market products and services that we’re very passionate about, and at the same time it feels good to create awareness that will save lives.”


To learn how ATEED West can help grow your business, contact Gill Ellis on (09) 354 0067 or at