Sunday Star Times
26 July 2015
Mentoring might to help Kiwi firms
NZ Entrepreneur’s Organisation – a local chapter of a global peer to peer mentoring association – has recruited eleven new highflying business people show will be able to offer practical help to others.
They include Seeby Woodhouse, founder of Orcon and current CEO of Voyager Internet, Kirsten Taylor, managing director of the successful SleepDrops natural remedy business and Ryan Sanders,, owner of the country’s leading tour company, Haka Tours.
Kirsten Taylor’s SleepDrops business produces natural remedies using herbs, homeopathy and flower essences to help people get a good quality sleep and cope with stress during the day. The company was launched in 2012, and the products are stocked in 1100 stores nationwide.
The powders and drops can be mixed and matched to individual requirements, and are already exported to Singapore, Hong Kong. Talks are ongoing about selling through a US web site which ships 70,000 parcels of natural remedies from international producers every day to 125 countries.
It has been a rapid rise to success, but Taylor said it could not have been achieved without help from mentoring organization. She said “I did not have a family network of entrepreneurs of relationship where I could ask people for advice about business issues.
“Many firms can also feel a powerful obligation to follow advice if they have paid for it, form a layer or accountant for example. They feel they have to respond and may lose touch with their gut instinct.
“It is possible for New Zealand companies to compete on an international stage. I can’t wait to help others on the same exciting journey that we are going through and still experiencing. I am really looking forward to that.”
Richard Conway of the Entrepreneur’s Organisation said membership growth was testament to a changing attitude among Kiwi entrepreneurs.
“New Zealanders have always been entrepreneurial by nature look at the likes of AJ Hackett turning his adventure passion into a profitable commercial operation. But also in our nature is a tendency toward a KIY attitude, even in business.
“Now more than ever though we are seeing entrepreneurs understand that some aspects of business can’t be solved by just mucking in and `doing it yourself`.
“More of our local entrepreneurs are now taking advantage of opportunities for support from other likeminded, successful business owners,, understanding the value of bouncing off each other and growing through shared experience,” says Conway.
“This newfound confidence supports the notion that Kiwi business people are more confident in relying on local business acumen rather than looking offshore for inspiration and advice.”
The NZ Entrepreneurs’ Organisation’s goal is to increase its Auckland chapter to 58 members by 2016. Membership is by invitation only based on a strict checklist to ensure all business has the potential to grow and increase, not only profits for the entrepreneur but for New Zealand, as well as employment opportunities for local markets.