Here’s something the Americans do well; encouraging and nurturing the art of entrepreneurship that drives that countiy’s economic success. It’s part of the American culture. There are very good reasons why innovations stand a much better chance of making the transition to world class businesses when on American soil.
Entrepreneurs there are taught the skills to conduct critical and strategic thinking around their ventures. Mentors and coaches with genuine experience are available to help start-ups negotiate the road to commercialising their technology. There is a thriving venture capital system which exists to match investors’ funds with ventures with a winning team, a great idea and a plausible business plan. There is a huge domestic market. And the spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation is celebrated.
New Zealand has a way to go if we are to create the sort of environment conducive to creating world beating businesses which the Americans enjoy – and which would edge this country up the OECD tables. Of course there are some great things happening in this space in New Zealand such as the Auckland Business School Spark Entrepreneurial Challenge – and the IceHOUSE Incubator. But this sort of support and encouragement exists only in pockets.
It is with all these thoughts in mind that I prepare to participate in the American entrepreneurial machine first hand next week. As part of the BrightMind LABS team, I have been invited to participate in the Advanced Invention to Venture (AI2V) sessions in Boston, Massachusetts starting Monday. BrightMind LABS have won a place at AI2V on the strength of winning the Global Best Social Impact Assessment at the Global Social Venture Competition in San Francisco in April. We will be the only venture at the AI2V from outside the USA.
AI2V is a great example of the sort of intensive boot training available to American entrepreneurial ventures. It is sponsored by the American National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance, and is an intensive training camp for company founders who have committed to commercialising innovative technology in certain fields.
I will blog more about our experiences at the Boston AI2V, some of the key points we bring home with us – and how these can be applied to our clients to help their businesses succeed.
Fraser Hurrell is one of three directors of Elevate CA Limited, Chartered Accountants & Business Advisors in Whangarei, New Zealand.
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