John Key – Entrepreneur – Opens New Zealand Countdown To Global Entrepreneur Week

Prime Minister John Key’s Provides New Zealand’s Competitive Advantage for Entrepreneurs

The World Global Entrepreneur Week Countdown Begins

Wellington, 9 May 2009 – – Prime Minister John Key said the ability of New Zealand to link “entrepreneurial power” with the power of the internet would create huge opportunities for New Zealand entrepreneurs.

The Prime Minister, formerly a highly successful foreign exchange manager with Merrill Lynch, said he regarded himself as an entrepreneur and said New Zealand needed to celebrate entrepreneurs like Sam Morgan and Stephen Tindall.

The comments were made at the ‘countdown’ to the launch of the 2009 Global Entrepreneur Week (‘GEW’) program, an international entrépreneurial programme sponsored by world leaders like Barack Obama, Gordon Brown and Nicolas Sarkozy.

Speaking yesterday afternoon at a function at the Auckland School of Business and attended by British High Commissioner George Fergusson, Mr Key launched the countdown to the launch of GEW in November along with Sam Morgan, TradeMe’s founder and a person described by the Prime Minister as the sort of “outrageously successful” entrepreneur that New Zealand needed to celebrate.

“When people are overwhelmingly successful in entrepreneurship in my experience you see them doing other things,” Mr Key said. He said Warehouse founder Stephen Tindall was another such example of a successful kiwi entrepreneur who was now heavily involved in a variety of other socially and economically beneficial activities.

“We need successful entrepreneurs in New Zealand. We need to celebrate them and make sure we’re proud of them because From their activities all sorts of other entrepreneurs will get to have a go

“New Zealand has always suffered from the tyranny of distance. We’re a long way from markets. It’s really expensive to get to markets and they now total six and a half billion people. If we use our entrepreneurial power and link that to the power of the internet then I think we can be very successful as a country.”

Global Entrepreneur Week is celebrated from November 16 – 22 and is designed to connect young people worldwide through a variety of local and international activities to promote innovative, entrepreneurial activity.

The focus in New Zealand is upon individuals working either on their own or within existing businesses who can develop entrepreneurial enterprises that create new opportunities for themselves and for others.

“New Zealand’s future is going to be very much around the areas where we have a competitive advantage,” Mr Key said. “One of those is that we produce food the world wants to buy, another is that this is a great place to educate people . . it certainly will be in the area of tourism where the world wants to travel, but I suspect the area that might be the most exciting and may arguably deliver the greatest change is in that area that creates budding young companies that create the ideas that we haven’t even thought of today that solve the problems that we’re not even sure that we’ve currently got but if we had a solution to we would very much enjoy.

“And that’s where entrepreneurialism and the creativity that comes from that sector is very important.,” Mr Key said.

The week’s intention is to encourage not just innovation but imaginative and creative concepts that can help turn ideas into practical realities to not only help build businesses and create opportunities but to enhance existing organisation.

In an international context GEW is intended to help reduce poverty and battle climate change, as well as seeing entrepreneurs as agents for economic and social growth.

GEW MD spokesman Rob Acton said the week was more than just a celebration of entrepreneurial activity but offered some real opportunities for people to discover their entrepreneurial talents.

The programme not only opens up the possibilities of entrepreneurialism to be a realistic career choice for young people, but it also lets them unleash their creative ideas and to connect with like-minded people internationally, Mr Acton said.

“We have a great programme called ‘Unleash it! In the Workplace which is specifically designed for in-house employees to foster their ‘inner entrepreneur’ with great, business and productivity-growing ideas. Many people don’t realise that being entrepreneurial doesn’t necessarily mean you have to mortgage your house and go out on your own. It’s for employees too.”

As well as ‘Unleash it! In the Workplace, GEW also has a global ‘Clean Tech’ challenge which is tasked with finding the best clean technology ideas in the country with winners going to the Global Clean Tech Open finals in San Francisco with an international prize of $100,000 in cash and services.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for people with ‘green’ ideas to formulate them, send them in and, if they’re selected, to present them to an audience of 2500 people in San Francisco,” said Mr Acton.

A final programme, ‘Solve your Pet Peeves’ is an event challenging kiwis to come up with solutions to ‘peeves’ that annoy them and to put it to the ‘court of public opinion’ for their views before a winner is drawn.

The week also features theme days designed to highlight specific factors relating to entrepreneurialism including women, trade and social entrepreneurs.

“Last year’s GEW involved millions of people and was a huge success,” Mr Acton said.
About Global Entrepreneurship Week
With the goal to inspire young people to embrace innovation, imagination and creativity, Global Entrepreneurship Week will encourage youth to think big, turn their ideas into reality, and make their mark. From Nov. 16 – 22, 2009, millions of young people around the world will join a growing movement to generate new ideas and seek better ways of doing things. Tens of thousands of activities are being planned in dozens of countries. Global Entrepreneurship Week is founded by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and the Make Your Mark campaign. For more information, visit, and in New Zealand email Rob Acton at : [email protected]

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