Queenstown is to host one of the biggest groups of financial heavy-hitters it’s ever seen.
The 8000-member global Entrepreneurs’ Organisation (EO) is staging a four-day conference – called a ‘university’ – in Queenstown next February.
Tickets for 400 places sold out in just eight hours.
“The previous fastest to sell out was 10 days,” Queenstown university chairman, Auckland-based Mat Wylie says.
About 40 per cent of the delegates will come from the United States, 25 per cent from Asia-Pacific and others from the UK, Middle East, Europe and Australia. Most of New Zealand’s 46 members, who’ll help with hosting, are also expected to attend.
EO, founded in 1987, aims to build the world’s most influential community of entrepreneurs.
“Collectively, their turnover of $US138 billion is larger than the GDP of NZ,” Wylie says.
Wylie’s vision for the Queenstown university is “to create 400 raving fans of all things Kiwi – if we can blow them away, they’ll go back as advocates to those other 7600 and say ‘you’ve got to go to NZ to either travel, do business or whatever’”.
The university’s theme is ‘100% Kiwi Adventure’.
Wylie: “We’re talking about putting world-class NZ on a global stage in Queenstown.”
Speakers will include Kiwi business high-flyers Sir Stephen Tindall, who founded The Warehouse, Saatchi & Saatchi boss Kevin Roberts, inventor Ray Avery, Google engineering director Craig Nevill-Manning and Gatorade marketer Sarah Robb O’Hagan.
Wylie: “It’s not just all about motivation, a lot of it is about take-home value – what can I learn from these people that I can implement in my business on Monday when I get back to work?”
The university’s social chairman is EO’s NZ chapter president Jacqui Spice.
Spice – who started local-based personal concierge/event planning company Touch of Spice six years ago – helped Wylie pitch for the Queenstown convention.
Wylie says he’d have liked a larger conference “but there’s nowhere that’s got a big enough general meeting space to run an event like this”.
A marquee will be erected on the Heritage Hotel’s petanque pit to accommodate everyone.