Hutt Rotary targets entrepreneurs with lunch offer

Last updated 10:52 01/05/2012

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Hutt City Rotarians are putting their extensive business knowledge, influential networks and expertise to the test by shouting export-focused entrepreneurs' lunches.

As a country, we were once economically ahead of Australia, Sweden, and others in the OECD. But we've now fallen from the top half of the list.

The late Sir Paul Callaghan said that for New Zealand to grow so our communities can thrive, we need to develop export-focused businesses that can double our present exports.

We need to create 3000 new businesses by 2020 that grow to be the size of Fisher & Paykel. An audacious goal!

Businesses are showing off New Zealand's innovativeness around the world.

Economic development organisations and others have begun to jump in and connect these entrepreneurs with the resources they need.

But this is not a job just for a couple of us: it needs a community effort.

Hutt City Rotary Club is putting up its hand.

The club would like to see 200 of the 3000 new export-focused businesses started in the Hutt.

The new initiative, called Rotary Buys Lunch, will help by connecting entrepreneurs with Rotarians who can provide valuable expertise and connections, which can be the difference between success and failure for new businesses.

Club president Simon Manning says: "We think this initiative has a lot of potential to help connect entrepreneurs with the valuable resources in Rotary so they can succeed quickly and help to grow our community."

The pilot project will run for three months.

Since 1943, the Hutt City Rotary Club has been composed of highly successful business and community leaders who have led many influential projects, such as the Hutt River Trail and Shapeshifter; and they have awarded dozens of international scholarships and exchanges.

The Rotary Buys Lunch concept has been developed by Brock Starnes, a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar from the United States.

During his time as a Rotary scholar and masters student of commerce at Victoria University, Brock saw an opportunity to connect influential Rotarians with budding entrepreneurs.

"As an ambassadorial scholar, I've had the opportunity to see first-hand the impact Rotarians can have on a community," Mr Starnes said.

Wellington entrepreneur Simon Collins, of Infovision, is also enthusiastic about the Rotary Buys Lunch initiative.

"I like this idea. Many Rotarians have so much expertise and connections that could benefit just about any entrepreneur, whatever the industry."

Entrepreneurs should visit huttrotary.org.nz/rotarybuys lunch.

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