I am delighted to confirm that Stanford’s Graduate School of Business (GSB) will be traveling to New Zealand.

When Wharf42 was first established in 2012, it was designed to support early stage New Zealand tech companies engage with Silicon Valley’s vast innovation ecosystem. As one who has spent a considerable time living and working in the Valley, I know just how central a role Stanford plays in that ecosystem.

Stanford University

So when two of the key organisers of this GSB visit first contacted me back in March about the potential for such a trip, I was hugely excited by the opportunity it offered NZ Inc. Over the past three months, we have met face to face in Sunnyvale and kept the conversation going. Last month, GSB’s Program Office confirmed it was ‘all go’.

Some background then as to the significance of this program for New Zealand: Stanford’s GSB hosts faculty-led ‘treks’ to various countries across the world. Typically, these ‘treks’ are designed as a combination of meetings with business leaders across a wide range of companies and institutions (e.g., private sector, public sector, and social sector) and cultural activities to immerse the participants into a holistic educational experience. There are approximately 30 people on each trip (including trip leaders, participants, and a faculty advisor).

This year, Stanford’s GSB are thrilled to be leading an 8-day trek to New Zealand to better understand the drivers of New Zealand’s success in rising to #1 in the Easiest Place to Do Business Rankings. In particular, the ‘trek’ is looking to explore how New Zealand has shaped and implemented trade, innovation, and social programs and policies to enable the country’s success. At this point in time, the delegates are planning to visit three cities whilst in Aotearoa: Auckland, Queenstown, and Wellington.

Stanford GSB has identified some key outcomes it wants from the visit. They are hoping to explore the New Zealand business landscape, and in particular, they’d love for students to engage with business leaders across different industries on these topics – answering questions around what makes New Zealand so successful and how can they translate these learnings to other geographies / business contexts. GSB would also love to expose the participants to a taste of New Zealand culture – for many of them, it will be their first time in the country.

For NZ Inc., there are significant benefits to be had by engaging with the visiting party. Stanford’s GSB participants are no ordinary group of students. Many already have a deep experience of working in, and sector leadership connections to, Silicon Valley’s vast innovation ecosystem.  By meeting and talking directly with these folks, key players in New Zealand’s own innovation ecosystem will have the opportunity to build hugely valuable network connections in the Bay area. Others are globally connected. Really connected. It really is hard to over-state just how significant this ‘trek’ is.

Right now we are working on the Program. Over the next two to three weeks, I will be reaching out to different organisations in New Zealand (in both the public and the private sectors) who we believe can both contribute to, and benefit from, the objectives of the 8-day ‘trek’.

It’s rare for New Zealand to have so much time to share with such a large and influential delegation from Silicon Valley.

Wharf42 is absolutely delighted to be part of this amazing opportunity.