The silver-lining the Covid-19 pandemic has given us is the singular opportunity in our lifetime to diversify and enhance New Zealand’s economy in new ways. In a global recession with the world locked down and struggling economically to create new jobs, New Zealand could see a huge uplift in the number of people starting new companies with people no longer being able to travel to find work, and the looming shadow of a global recession hanging over us.
There’s no doubt that digital technology, entrepreneurship, and rapid-innovation has been at the forefront of the pandemic response efforts both at home and abroad. The biggest opportunity for New Zealand right now is not just recovery and rebuilding, it’s transforming our people into a workforce that can create the jobs of tomorrow, not just today. And that means leaning in to put innovation and entrepreneurship at the forefront of our economic strategy. How? By retooling our people to be more capable, tech-savvy, and ultimately, more future-ready.
After spending 15 years leading the local startup community in New Zealand, we see myriad opportunities for Government to meaningfully intervene by investing in people and entrepreneurial capability to help people better execute on their ideas for commercial, social, and personal success. We can take lessons from mature innovation ecosystems on how to create the critical entrepreneurial-density that allows 'engineered serendipity' to happen at scale, thus creating the ideal environment for more entrepreneurs to flourish in New Zealand.
Whilst we’ve already done a lot to encourage the growth of the startup ecosystem in New Zealand, it is ultimately sub-scale, because New Zealand is sub-scale. There's not much more we can do at a grassroots-level without significant top-down support. Start NZ Up therefore takes a lead from the seminal Startup Crossroads work by StartupAUS in Australia, and inspiration from the format of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, to create a similar call to action for the opportunity here in Aotearoa.
Start NZ Up - An Action Plan For a More Entrepreneurial Economy in Aotearoa New Zealand by Dan Khan