Go Media celebrates entrepreneurship in Monaco

Go Media directors Andrea Rongonui and Mike Gray are celebrating entrepreneurship at an invite-only event in Monaco this week.

The EY World Entrepreneur of the Year Awards is an annual event that recognises the achievements of leaders across the globe. Rongonui and Gray say it was their pleasure to see New Zealand’s entrant, David Yu, recognised for his work as founder of NFT collectible platform VeVe.

“It was great to be cheering for David when he took to the stage to receive his award,” says Gray.

Rongonui, who last year won Māori businesswoman of the year at the Māori Businesswomen’s Awards, was invited to the Women @ World cocktail reception in Hotel de Paris, overlooking the Monaco Casino.

“I have heard some of the most incredible stories by some amazing wāhine toa, that were super inspiring. Jenny Zhu, who owns Lush Décor, started as an immigrant from China who came from a village that had no electricity,” says Rongonui.

“She could not speak any English. Now her company turns over $1 billion dollars annually and she has just written a book, soon to be published, to inspire the next generation of female entrepreneurs.”

Gray, who is an Alumni of the awards programme having won the EY – Young Entrepreneur of the Year, was blown away by the scale of some of the businesses.

“Despite the presence of bodyguards for some of the finalists, everyone is very down to earth and approachable as we all share a common bond of entrepreneurship and the battle to build something from nothing.

“We had an APAC dinner at the restaurant CITO, elevated high above Monaco on a mountain edge, and I was able to speak with Dr Howard Young. His company Montage Technology is responsible for 45% of every single download that occurs across the planet,” says Gray.

“But the stand-out meeting was with Builder.ai founder Sachin Dev Duggal. They describe it as the next generation composable app development platform for every company and idea on the planet. It allows users to create software by combining components in a manner analogous to stacking reusable Lego bricks. It was a mind-blowing meeting.”

The couple, who are now off to London Tech Week, were able to reflect on a whirlwind trip of seminars, meetings, presentations, and events every night.

“It really does inspire you and elevate your thinking,” says Gray.

“I spoke with the overall winner from India, Vellayan Subbiah, at the after party. This is someone who has 50,000 employees! The judge’s decision was definitive in that what swayed them to choose Vellayan, over the other 51 finalists, was what he does for his community, how he gives back.

“That is what separated his business and it is clear to us that giving back to the community in an authentic way is now a critical part of what being a successful business truly is,’’ says Rongonui.

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