Got the right stuff? Sir Branson launches Kiwi business challenge

Sir Richard Branson launched ‘The Virgin Business Challenge’ on sunny Takapuna beach this morning in typical style. After making a glamorous entrance, arriving on an amphibious Kiwi invention Sealegs, he then challenged Air New Zealand’s Rob Fyfe and BNZ’s Andrew Thorburn to race him past the buoys and back.

After three exciting time trials Rob Fyfe won by a margin. But, after Branson pointed out Fyfe may in fact, *shocked gasp* have cheated, Andrew Thorburn was declared official winner.

The race was to celebrate the launch The Virgin Group and Bank of New Zealand’s challenge to New Zealand businesses to prove they have the “right stuff” to go global.

‘BNZ Presents: The Virgin Business Challenge’ will challenge Kiwi entrepreneurs to demonstrate why their business deserves shot at world markets and pitch for a prize pack that includes: time with Sir Richard Branson; a $100,000 cash prize from BNZ to support the internationalisation of the business; a BNZ business education scholarship; mentoring from Virgin and BNZ executives; and access to Virgin meeting rooms worldwide.

Sir Richard Branson says, “We’re always looking for the next big thing and Virgin is looking to New Zealand as a great source of talent and ideas.

“We know that there are many New Zealand businesses with the potential to succeed at the highest level and through the Virgin Business Challenge we hope to be able to play a role in helping them overcome the challenge of going global.”

To be considered for this business lift off, Kiwi entrepreneurs must demonstrate creativity and innovation with the potential to go global, aspire to reach NZ$50m turnover within five years and live up to the Virgin values of being customer centric, challenging the status quo, being ethically driven and having a sense of fun.

BNZ’s Andrew Thorburn says, “We know that New Zealand is brimming with entrepreneurial talent but what we need are the networks for offshore expansion – this is what this challenge is all about.

“Our innovative businesses must accelerate and really aspire to greater global success to achieve international standing and significantly increase their own success and therefore the prosperity of this country. Both Virgin and BNZ recognise this and together, we want to provide an opportunity for New Zealand businesses to realise their full potential.”

To enter, entrepreneurs should go to the BNZ website at bnz.co.nz/virginchallenge.

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