June 12, 2009

NZ's Knowledge Economy

Over the weekend I was thinking about why so many more young scientists are thinking of sticking around in NZ. That is a distinct shift from perhaps even 5 years ago when the only thing it seemed you could do after finishing a PhD was do a postdoc (maybe I was just unaware then!). I think this is a positive effect flowing on from the work of people like Prof. Paul Callaghan, whose documentary seeks to raise public awareness of the importance of science in NZ’s economy. Paul raises some interesting points, and I think everyone should make time to watch at least some of it.

Of particular interest to me were the statistics on revenue and profit per employee of some of the world's most successful companies. McDonald's, for example, has a revenue of $70K per employee and a profit of $6K per employee. Compare that to Samsung, who with 100,000 employees produce nearly the entire GDP of NZ! They have a revenue of $1.03M per employee and a profit of $135K per employee! It's easy to see in what type of business the profits lie, and put quite simply, we need more of these types of companies in NZ.

There are several NZ companies like Fisher & Paykel Healthcare and Rakon, who have revenues per employee in the several hundreds of thousands, and so the early signs are encouraging. But if we had 200 more of these types of companies, NZ would be a very different place to live. Hopefully in the next few weeks I'll get the chance to talk about some of the up and coming companies that one day might make up part of those "200" companies.


  1. Is there a list of early stage companies in New Zealand? Perhaps your inward investment agency publishes this information - I'd be interested if there was?

  2. you might want to check out some of the interviews done by the made from nz crew. They follow a few entrepreneurs who are at a grass roots level with their buisnesses.
    It's always good to see a variety of business models

  3. Thanks for the comments. I will definately check out some of those interviews.

    Here are a few options for checking out early stage NZ companies:

    - www.investment.govt.nz
    - TIN100 (top 100 NZ tech companies)
    - NZ Venture Investment Fund publishes NZ Young Company finance

  4. Hello, it may be worth also checking out www.keanewzealand.com (kiwi expat association)which has a huge network of kiwi businesses who you can connect with.

    By the way, great blog. You have some good thought-provoking pieces.



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