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The ICEHOUSE launch, 18 April - speech from ICEHOUSE CEO Andy Hamilton

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Kate de Lautour

The ICEHOUSE is on a mission.

Quite simply, because of cause and opportunity.

Cause is driven to by making a difference to our country.

Opportunity is driven by an insight of a sector of our economy that has massive potential.

We want to enable our entrepreneurs to grow their companies. We want to enable our entrepreneurs to be great. And we want to enable our entrepreneurs to be internationally successful.

Our small to medium sized businesses are the backbone of the New Zealand economy. We need these businesses to invest in their capabilities and their success. Because when the success of these companies is invested in, we will transform our economy and our Country.

We have a lofty goal at The ICEHOUSE – this is to get New Zealand into the top half of the OECD by 2020. To do this, we worked out there needs to be 3,000 international quality and competitive firms and we, The ICEHOUSE are committed to enabling 1,000 of these firms.

What do we mean by international quality?

We mean organisations

  • engaged in overseas markets as operators or exporters
  • defending their Kiwi markets from the best
  • subject to heightened competition and typically more productive and innovative; and
  • white knights helping NZ pay its way in the world.

As a result of great governance from our partners and board in 2012 – we sat back, we navel gazed and we faced the brutal facts – we were going to miss our 2020 goal by a massive margin – over ½ of our goal.

This lead us to a simple bit of insight - we need to work with more customers and we need to improve the conversion rate of a company moving from being ‘successful’ to being of international quality.

This has led to a transformation of the Icehouse itself – work with more and do better with the ones we work with.

We also can’t achieve this goal by operating out of one location, so we will be opening in three regions across the country this year and we are proud that Hawke’s Bay is the first.

When I’m asked, why Hawke’s Bay? The answer is quite simple.  Because you asked us.

We understand that there are only so many people who will get on a plane to participate in a programme so we want to make things easier for businesses by operating as a local resource.

There is a certain energy which exists in The ICEHOUSE itself and in the programmes we run and we plan to bring and spread that energy among Hawke’s Bay business.  In fact it is actually the businesses themselves that create that energy, we are just lucky to come along with them!

There’s already a heartbeat in Hawke’s Bay among our alumni and by opening permanently – we provide the glue around local business to create a wider and stronger network with a stronger heartbeat.

The support of our alumni, network and local business for our opening has been nothing short of overwhelming. And we wouldn’t be here tonight without our number one supporter - Business Hawke’s Bay.

We engaged with more than 100 local businesses and a number of stakeholders including the local council, NZTE and local Ministers to make sure this move was viable.

This has been a truly collaborative effort to set up in the region, and nothing has been achieved without the contribution or guidance of local organisations.

We will be running our programmes and operations from the BNZ Partners Centre. We’ve worked with the BNZ for more than 10 years, we have a solid relationship and wouldn’t be able to operate regionally without their support, they share our passion and drive to make New Zealand a better place for business growth.

And what will we do for you, the business owners? We will walk beside you. We will make sure your business is heading in the direction. We will provide expertise, networks and access to funding to help you grow.

We will help to connect the dots, we’ll give you clarity and access to resources already available you may not know are there, and we’ll introduce new things to help your capability.

We’re not going to do it for you, and we won’t give you a magic wand to fix things which may be wrong. But what we can promise is practical solutions. We’re about measurable success - we’ll get behind you when you’re stalling, we’ll toast the Mac’s Gold when you’re winning and we’ll connect you to the right people when you need it.

Business growth is what we’re about and our successful track record is proved tonight when I count the number of our alumni in the room who have come to support this launch.

We’ve already touched or worked with many Hawke’s Bay businesses over the past 12 years. Hamish Whyte will be speaking next and sharing his experience with The ICEHOUSE, he’s just one of many we are proud to call our alumni.

We’re not about all talk and no action so we’re hitting the ground running and starting our programmes right away.

Our Achieving Business Growth Workshop is taking place on the 21 & 22 May – this is a day and a half workshop to help you identify opportunities to grow your business.

And our Owner Operator Programme will be kicking off on 28th June – this is an on-going programme to help you turn things around in your business, push past the plateau and re-discover your motivation.

If either of these programmes tickle your fancy or you want to find out more, grab one of The ICEHOUSE people around the room and talk to them about it – they’ll be able to point you in the right direction.

Special thank you’s go out to Michaela Vodanovich and Peter Wogan who have been the people on the ground driving this opening.

We’re proud to finally call ourselves Hawke’s Bay locals and we thank you for welcoming us into the community.

We look forward to becoming a part of and helping to shape the future of business in Hawke’s Bay.