Entrepreneur Linda Jenkinson to inspire at Kea event

Successful Kiwi businesswoman Linda Jenkinson is writing a book based on her experience as an entrepreneur.
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Successful Kiwi businesswoman Linda Jenkinson is writing a book based on her experience as an entrepreneur.

Serial entrepreneur Linda Jenkinson is the very definition of a doer.

Growing up on a farm in the Manawatu, with a dad who built 18 businesses, Jenkinson lived and breathed entrepreneurship and problem-solving from an early age.

This served her well when she went on to found two multi-million dollar companies, attend one of the top business schools in the world and become the first New Zealand woman to take a company public on the New York Stock Exchange.

Resident in San Francisco, she has since founded WOW Investments, which focuses on building women-led small business in West Africa, served on a variety of boards and is writing a book.

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Jenkinson is one of six New Zealanders speaking at Kea Inspire, an event showcasing global Kiwi success, on Wednesday.

She said her story of going from New Zealand farm girl to international businesswoman often resonated strongly with Kiwi audiences and she said there was sometimes too much focus on the barriers to success.

"There isn't any such thing as a barrier. It's just a problem to solve. Barriers are just signals of things to focus on to figure out how to blow them away."

It's not as easy as it sounds but Jenkinson has always wanted to make a difference, to work with integrity and to "change the world".

To her, it was a bit like playing a game of poker - which her grandmother taught her when she was five years old - and it was about working out how to win, while dealing with constraints or figuring out how to change the rules.

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Her dad's businesses only grew to a certain size before stalling so she wanted to build something really big, she said.

That turned out to be the now-publicly listed Dispatch Management Services, which was founded over a chat with eventual Twitter co-founder Greg Kidd at Oriental Bay in Wellington in the 1990s.

She has been supporting the New Zealand startup scene from afar for 20 years and said the changes here have been incredible.

The country has come a long way and more people needed to appreciate the opportunities available here, she said.

"When you're younger you don't realise you grow up in one of the most amazing countries in the world and what you can do with what you've got here.

"We live in this amazing place, we've got the most transparent and fairest place in the world, we've got the ability to be whoever we want to be."

 - Stuff

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