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A network of more than 140 entrepreneurial businesses and organisations warns New Zealand is in danger of being left behind due to a lack of resources and insufficient policies to progress entrepreneurship.

The New Zealand chapter of the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) wants to see local and central government politicians initiate policies to make entrepreneurship easier and more effective. To that end, it has released a manifesto, outlining initiatives it hopes will help New Zealand become more entrepreneurial.

Wellington-based entrepreneur and investor Dave Moskovitz has been the chair of GEN New Zealand since 2019.

“We need to make New Zealand more entrepreneurial and level up our entrepreneurial skills so that we can compete on the world stage and provide that intergenerational social and economic prosperity,” Moskovitz says.

Over the last three years, GEN has grown its New Zealand network to more than 200 people representing more than 140 organisations, including entrepreneurs, incubators and accelerators, entrepreneur support organisations, central and local government, academia, investors and NGOs. They collaborated to produce the manifesto, reflecting the views of network members.

GEN member organisations include universities, district councils, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, Xero, NZ Entrepreneur, Bridgewest Ventures NZ and many more. Its mission is to connect entrepreneurs with the people and resources they need to thrive nationally and globally.

GEN also wants to create a diverse and more resilient foundation for intergenerational economic and social prosperity. Moskovitz believes that if entrepreneurs and government collaborate, the conditions to increase entrepreneurship will improve.

Moskovitz is an entrepreneur’s entrepreneur. He started his first business aged 18 and received the New Zealand Angel Association’s Arch Angel award in 2018 as New Zealand’s top angel investor. One of New Zealand’s internet pioneers in the mid 1990s, he currently helps entrepreneurs and organisations use new technology to create exceptional value for both customers and stakeholders.

Like all entrepreneurs, he looks for and takes advantage of opportunities while managing risk. Good government policy and having a national multi-partisan entrepreneurial road map are both important for the success of budding entrepreneurs, Moskovitz says. These issues are discussed in the manifesto.

“If you can get the foundation right, then that makes everything else a lot easier.”

The manifesto’s six sections address policymaking, how to support and educate entrepreneurs to enable an innovation nation, the commercialisation of research, how to attract talented entrepreneurs, and how to enhance and expand our entrepreneurial ecosystem on the global stage.

“We would like people who are in, and who interact with, the entrepreneurial ecosystem, to support our key messages and initiatives and create a more entrepreneurial Aotearoa,” Moskovitz says.

While Moskovitz believes our startup ecosystem is in good shape, we are missing opportunities due to a lack of structure and resources – and it is this that the manifesto seeks to address. Initiatives such as development of an entrepreneurial mindset among young people within the education curriculum, attracting global investors, and the creation of an online toolkit to assist thriving entrepreneurial ecosystems are discussed and all are equally important.

“Finding the most important theme in the manifesto is like asking your parents who your favourite child is,” Moskovitz says.

While the GEN New Zealand network supports startups and business ventures to succeed, there are always roadblocks and failures on the entrepreneurial journey. Moskovitz quotes Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington, who says failure is not the opposite of success, it’s part of it.

“Starting a business is hard to the power of hard, but once you do it and run into difficulties, there’s a support network available. The trick is to do your failures on a very small scale so you’re building up to large scale success.

“You also want to make sure that the risk you are taking is in proportion to the reward you may receive, but also the investment you’ve sunk into the business.”

Moskovitz also wants the manifesto to be as successful as a great startup, with success being measured by the uptake of people implementing the initiatives.

“If the government was to put together a multiparty road map of where we think entrepreneurship should go, that would be a big win for the manifesto,” he says. “If we’re able to get the education system to provide entrepreneurial mindset education at an early age, that will be a huge win for the manifesto. We must have a societal will to make it happen.”

One of GEN’s aims is to encourage more entrepreneurial people thinking about innovation that will carry the country forward in a time of rapid and extreme change. Moskovitz says GEN has already taken the first steps towards its own roadmap for the direction of entrepreneurship, which he hopes will be a success.

“We’ll know we’re successful when New Zealand is a more entrepreneurial society, with more diverse and resilient entrepreneurs.”

To download a copy of the 12-page manifesto and learn how you can support the initiatives, go to

Story by Dave Crampton

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