Wisdom and experience come with age, but these young people are proving to be wise beyond their years. We’ve picked out ten Kiwi business moguls aged 30 years or under that are promising good things for the future of New Zealand business.
We love to perpetuate the stereotype of the slacker millennial, spending hours on end scrolling through social media and whittling away a lifetime’s worth of savings on $22 brunches. But when we look at some of the most exciting businesses in New Zealand today, young people are are often the ones leading the pack. Because what young people lack in experience and expertise, they make up for with enthusiasm, freshness and a whole lot else.
Our previous list highlighted ten amazing women in business, but it’s a list that could’ve gone on and on. This time it’s no different, with hundreds of young people promising good things across New Zealand. But ten is a nice round number, so we’ve taken the time to pick out a few young people in business who we think deserve your special attention:
From living in a dingy Dunedin flat to being New Zealand’s sole representative for this year’s Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Asia list, Sam Stuchbury’s already accomplished a lot at just 27 years old.
Along with fellow Otago University alumni Alex McManus and Jono De Alwis, Stuchbury helped establish creative content agency Motion Sickness in 2012 during his final year of study. Six years later (which included a move up to Auckland from Dunedin), Motion Sickness now boasts a slew of high profile clients including Blunt Umbrellas, Burger Burger, Les Mills and Jim Beam. Stuchbury and co. have made a name for themselves as social media gurus, and in 2016, branched out to help co-found The Social Club which links up brands with social media influencers to collaborate on campaigns. The Social Club is the largest company of its kind in New Zealand, working with 3,500 influencers and 350 different brands.
Based in the startup epicentre of San Francisco, 26-year-old Sian Simpson has been running Kiwi Landing Pad (KLP) – a work, gathering and mentoring space for New Zealand companies – since 2014. As global community manager and sole KLP employee, a large part of Simpson’s role involves meeting with business owners, connecting them with local networks and facilitating events throughout the year, making her a crucial figure for providing a “soft” landing point for New Zealand in the heart of the Bay Area.
In addition to her work with KLP, Simpson has also been creating videos and interviewing speakers for SaaStr – a website for companies that provide ‘Software as a Service’ – for the last three years. In the past, she’s also helped run the US arm of Kiwi video production company 90 Seconds.
At just 18-years-old, Alexia Hilbertidou’s resume already reads like a lifetime of work. Soon after winning the Unitec Coding App competition in 2015 for online food redistribution platform KaiShare, 16-year-old Hilbertidou founded GirlBoss NZ – an organisation encouraging young women to embrace STEM, entrepreneurship and higher leadership. She was inspired to create GirlBoss when she noticed she was the only girl in her Year 12 IT and physics class at Albany Senior High.
More than two years later, GirlBoss has become New Zealand’s second largest network of women with nearly 8,000 members. It primarily targets high school students through workshops and presentations on leadership, entrepreneurship, science and technology, with past speakers including My Food Bag’s Theresa Gattung, Xero’s Anna Curzon, Green Party MP Chloe Swarbrick, and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
Between all that, Hilbertodou’s also managed to make time to intern at the New Zealand Treasury, win a 2016 Westpac Women of Influence Award, receive a scholarship from the Ministry of Education, and become the youngest person ever to go on a project mission with NASA.
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