New Frontiers 2016: Making NZ an Incubation Nation

We know growing an idea from a Zealand base comes with plenty of benefits. Our small population size and eagerness to adopt new ideas makes NZ a good testing bed to make mistakes, iterate and develop new products and ideas. Our distance often forcing us to think global from day one and our history of innovation instilling a “can-do” attitude.

We’ve got the talent and no shortage of ideas. So how can NZ make an impact on a global scale?  How can we put purpose and social outcomes first?  What impact does diversity have on business growth and how can we make a change to New Zealand’s economy by building on this incubation nation idea?

These questions and many more were asked at New Frontiers 2016, an epic gathering of artists, government, entrepreneurs and bright minds in the beautiful Whitemans Valley during a 15 day festival.

New Frontiers is a mix of curated and emergent conversations aligned with our mission of supporting New Zealand as an “Incubation Nation”, from which to develop, grow and globally launch integrated solutions to world problems.
— Kiwi Connect

I was privileged to be invited to participate on two of the days focussed on our Economy, the challenges and opportunities we have (and take over their twitter feed for a morning….)   

There was a variety of speakers all with their own take on the economy challenges. Josh Vial from Espiral spoke of a transnational collective goal where government and corporates are deemed irrelevant. Melissa Clark Reynolds, sitting amongst a panel of middle class white males reminded us that “Sunshine is the best disinfectant” and challenged us to think about how we can purposefully influence diversity in our workplace and work towards a clear mission.

Matt Mulller shared insights into online security and how their company Inflection are working on products that keep people safe.  Scott Nolan gave insights into AirBnB, a company he invests into and how they look for deep insights that will make a change.

Shay Wright shared his work with Maori communities through Te Whare Hukahuka working to empower Maori leaders to enable world class organisations.  

There is something quite powerful when we connect our heart and minds
— Shay Wright, Te Whare Hukahuka

During the afternoon on Thursday, 26 year old Shay was announced as one of Forbes 30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneurs in Asia, much to the delight of the New Frontiers audience.  It’s amazing to meet  someone so young already doing so much.  A true motivator if you ever needed one.

I was proud to be amongst such inspiring leaders and even more proud that many of them were BizDojo residents, advisors, connections and friends.  What an incredible network we have. Something that a previously sponsored Dojo resident Bonnie Howland reflected on, sharing her social enterprise story and how the supportive network in Wellington had helped her bring her idea of Indigo and Iris, an organic mascara, the profits of which would go to restoring the sight of people living with curable blindness in The South Pacific, was made real by the generosity of others.

Generosity was touched on throughout the sessions.  The event itself was an act of generosity for New Zealand.

Yoseph Ayele and the Monahan brothers who for the second year in a row have curated this audience and brought us together, feed us amazing vegetarian food and delighted those that were staying with music, yoga and an environment that supports wellbeing.   For those lucky ones, this is the accommodation and a glimpse of the amazing food on offer!

The final talk was given by Yoseph from Kiwi Connect, taking us on his journey becoming a global citizen and finding his place in New Zealand.  He talked us through his current project advising Immigration New Zealand on the proposed Global Impact Visas, a potential new visa that will attract talented entrepreneurs, investors and creatives to incubate solutions to global problems, here in New Zealand.

I feel thankful that NZ has global citizens like Yoseph Ayele and Matthew and Brian Monahan working on solutions to global problems and pushing for positive changes to make this world a better place.

I feel super lucky to have Kiwi Connect working in our Wellington Dojo too! What an awesome team they are. Big ups to the entire team for pulling together such an important event.

So now it’s time for us at the BizDojo to think about how we can help more with the incubation nation.  We know there is a need to assist companies that in the ‘Step Up and Scale Up stage. Something we are working on with Wellington City Council through our Collider Programmes and in Auckland through our Grid project with ATEED.  Yoseph is working with The Hillary Institute to figure out the best way to integrate and nurture the talent that arrives here and we are keen to be involved in supporting these global citizens to help grow ideas that make this world a better place to be.

I’m excited.  You should be too.

Jessica is our Wellington Regional Manager, helping to form and drive the vision of both Wellington BizDojo and Collider. If you have a moment, why not reach out to her on twitter?