Oh no, please don't, bro

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It’s weird that so many great business minds could be so misguided.

Maybe that's why I'm no great business mind—they can see something I can’t, maybe?

Over 100 entrepreneurs gathered in Auckland today to consider 170 ideas in what organisers promised to be the first Entrepreneurial Summit. The winning idea was, wait for it, a nationwide morale booster called “Have a go, bro”.

I'm serious.

And from the audience: “Give it whirl, girl”. Ouch.

Just in case I was feeling overly jaded I tried the idea on the my teenage and preteen sons. The confirmation was quick. “It’s the sort of thing Murray Hewitt would say,” says the 12-year-old. There you go.

It's a pity becasue it will turn an otherwise excellent event into a laughing stock, in much the same way that the seemingly trivial Cycleway has come to represent the job summit. I can't believe organisers didn't manage the results a bit. So much for the wisdom of crowds.

The two best ideas quickly rose to second and third places: the Kiwi Card and Possum Wool. The former is a brilliant tourism idea: a $10,000 debit card, bought in the UK and North America, will provide the buyer with a “free” trip on Air NZ to godzone, whereupon they can spend their $10,000 on any merchants’ eftpos machine. The trip is free because the government pays the GST component of $1,250 to Air NZ—and gets it back through additional spending. In addition to increased tourists, the potential PR spin is big, bro.

Possum wool is a sitter: a potential $100m exporter earner from day one. Just ask Peri Drysdale who has been making merino mink (mixture of the two) for years.

Other great ideas include:

  • adding value to dairy, especially in the nutritional and sports markets
  • harvetsting water for improved irrigation management and export sales
  • financial life skills education in schools
  • directing more of the Super Fund towards Kiwi business
  • adopting US style regulations around R&D commercialisation

There were few duds, apart from the winner. Seriously, am I mistaken or did lunacy just grab everyone for a moment?

Stuff have followed it breathlessly here. And the Herald more reflectively here.

Idealog would like to follow up these ideas, so watch this space. And your ideas?