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3000 world-class companies by 2020: The Icehouse's ambitious goal

The Icehouse strikes again, this time with a “KICK ASS” initiative with a vision of 3000 internationally competitive kiwi companies by 2020.

The Icehouse strikes again, this time with a “KICK ASS” initiative with a vision of 3000 internationally competitive kiwi companies by 2020. The centre, focused on Kiwi business growth, says this will be necessary to change New Zealand’s economic game and bring us back into the top half of the OECD.

It might seem a bit ambitious—New Zealand’s current crop stands at just 750 companies—but the Icehouse has got backing from private and public sectors and it’s got the results.

The centre offers growth programmes for SMEs, a business incubator for startups and the country’s largest group of angel investors. In 2009 it won the Vero Excellence award for a Business Support education provider, and in May last year Forbes magazine named it as one of the world’s top 10 startup incubators, the only incubator not based in the USA.

On Friday the centre also held the ICE Ideas Conference to discuss its 2020 vision for NZ business growth. With the launch of a new website, 3000.org.nz, they aim to track their progress as they attempt to deliver 1000 of the 3000 necessary companies through their various programmes.

The new vision means a new suite of projects at the Icehouse, including a call for high net-worth individuals to support a $4 million ‘Global from Day 1’ seed fund. This will invest in 10-15 startups each year at the proof of concept stage across the incubators that the Icehouse partners with.

Chief executive Andy Hamilton says the summit provides a forum to create a "true NZ Inc cause" by engaging widespread support and collaboration. "We know that when we bring great people together with common goals, great things happen."

The 3000.org.nz platform will be used to rally support for the initiative, and encourage other people with ideas and startups to work to meet the goal of 3000 companies.

Hamilton says, “The Icehouse can’t do this alone. We are focused on achieving our goals, but others in New Zealand need to step up too. If this platform helps that, then we will be happy.”

The Icehouse is a collaborative partnership between the University of Auckland Business School, the Boston Consulting Group, Telecom and Gen-i, BNZ, Ernst & Young, HP, and Microsoft. It was established in 2001 in recognition of the importance of SMEs to the New Zealand economy.