Top image: Near Farewell Spit at the top of New Zealand's South Island. Photo by Ben Mack.
Google’s Sergey Brin. Liz Claiborne. Intel’s Andrew Grove. Sun Microsystems’ Andreas von Bechtolsheim and Vinod Khosla. Yahoo’s Jerry Yang. Chobani’s Hamdi Ulukaya.
What do all these folks have in common? Yes, they’re all incredibly successful entrepreneurs, and also incredibly smart. They are also all immigrants.
Speaking from personal experience, it’s never easy to move from one country to another, with the intention of remaining in the new country you’ve come to for an indeterminate length of time. And starting your own business in a new country, rather than moving for school or a new job? Honestly, it’s hard to think of anything more difficult – or stressful.
Enter the Zino New Kiwis Challenge. In short, the Zino New Kiwis Challenge is a startup competition for migrant entrepreneurs, who have started a business in Aotearoa that they’re looking to take to the world. The prizes include mentoring, support and introductions to networks and capital, both in New Zealand and in China.
Open to all entrepreneurs from overseas (not just those from China or looking to expand into China), the goal of the competition is to encourage immigrant entrepreneurship to create new value for New Zealand.
To be eligible, a startup needs to have at least one immigrant to New Zealand as part of its founding team. Entrants then fill out an entry form and submit a three-minute video clip explaining their business, and voila! Entry completed.
Once all the entries are received by June 25, judges will whittle the list down to 10 finalists, who among other things will be assigned a mentor to help with their business and pitch to a panel of judges. The 10 finalists will be further whittled down to five, then to three, and then culminating in an event on August 30 where they’ll pitch to an audience of about 150 potential investors and advisors. Exciting, no?
The competition has a history of success, too. Last year’s winners Enring attracted more than $2 million in investment, and with the support of Zino expanded their customer base into Australia and Japan – creating more than 30 jobs in New Zealand in the process.
According to Zino, the competition is run, “Because we understand that starting a business is hard, and even harder when you’re not a ‘local.’”
Truer words were perhaps never spoken.
More details about the challenge here.
Image: Kaikōura. Photo by Ben Mack.
The New Kiwis Challenge 2018 – The Prize Package:
All entrants receive:
- The opportunity to put forward their business to Zino Ventures as part of the application process.
- A one-hour feedback / advisory session with a Zino Mentor / Adviser to discuss their business challenges and opportunities.
Top 10 entrants receive additional benefits:
- One month’s mentoring from a Zino Mentor / Adviser, and support from a Zino intern.
- Support to prepare their pitch document for the judges.
- Exposure as a Top 10 entrant at the Zino Innovation Hub Workshop in July (audience of 60 – 80 investors and supporters of early-stage businesses).
- Introduction to a network of investors & market opportunities.
The top 5 semi-finalists also get:
- Specific / focused mentoring in areas of weakness.
- Exposure to a basic due diligence process to support investment-readiness.
- Opportunity to pitch in person at the Zino Innovation Hub Workshop in August, sponsored by Invest Hong Kong.
The top 3 finalists also receive:
- Sponsorship to join the Zino 2018 China Trip in early November, visiting the entrepreneurial eco-system in Shanghai and Hangzhou, for one founder each.
- Alibaba Cloud Credits to the value of $10,000
- 2 free one-on-one sessions with Alibaba Architect workshop on platform design
- Introductions to Alibaba Ecosystem partners in China & SE Asia
- Pitch presentation coaching for finals night.
- Pitch at a gala event to an audience of about 150 investors and supporters, where the winner will be announced.
The winner also receives:
- One additional place on the 2018 China trip, for a co-founder.
- Opportunity to pitch for investment from Zino Ventures Ltd, and its network of early-stage investors.
- Additional Alibaba cloud credits up to a possible value of $50,000 (depending on the company)
- 3 additional sessions with Alibaba Architect workshops
- Invitation to Visit Alibaba Campus and/or Alibaba Cloud Conference in Hangzhou, China (not including flights and accommodation)
- A seat in Uniservices' institute in Hangzhou for up to a month and the support of the team in the Institute to explore the market. - Introductions to local government, companies and local Chinese investors.
- Access to Beijing-based incubator partner ICI, a seat at the Beijing-based incubator for up to a month and the support of the ICI team. ICI will provide introductions to local government and companies and local Chinese investors.
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