Swapping Great Ideas with Global Entrepreneurs

8 June 2012

Innovative Wellington businesses will engage in one-on-one conversations with some of the world's best brains in entrepreneurship at next week's BIG II forum.

The BIG (Business Innovation Growth) forum, at the Michael Fowler Centre on Monday 11 June, is in conjunction with the International Council for Small Business World Conference.

About 60 delegates from the conference - internationally recognised leaders in entrepreneurship - have made themselves available for a fast-moving series of five-minute, one-on-one conversations with about 60 business leaders from the Wellington region.

Last year's inaugural BIG expo, at Parliament, attracted 70 businesses, ranging from emerging start-ups to some of the region's largest and best-known enterprises, who shared their stories and successes with politicians.   

About 400 international and national business leaders are expected to attend the International Council for Small Business World Conference - hosted by Massey University with the support of the Council, Grow Wellington and the Small Enterprise Association of Australia and New Zealand - from 10-13 June.

There will be about 250 presentations on numerous topics including new venture creation, social and economic development, small business management, education and training and this year's theme - 'Leading from the Edge.'

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says innovation is a central plank in the Wellington Towards 2040: Smart Capital strategic vision, and the BIG II event is an amazing networking opportunity for the region's innovative business sector.

"This is an extraordinary opportunity for our business leaders to showcase their businesses and interact with some of the world's most inspirational entrepreneurs," says Mayor Wade-Brown.

"We must diversify our economic base and support the creative low-carbon industries that will export our great ideas, bring smart investment to Wellington, and provide high-value jobs."

The Council's Economy Portfolio Leader, Councillor Jo Coughlan, says it is the first time Wellington has hosted the forum and is a unique opportunity for innovative businesses to meet with the world's leading entrepreneurs.

"Wellington businesses will be connecting with some of the best, most innovative business brains in the world which will enhance opportunities for attracting and retaining talent and growing business opportunities in Wellington," says Cr Coughlan.

"We want to grow our economy and create 10,000 jobs and this forum is a chance to showcase our talent and capabilities to the world and send the message that we are open for business."