New Zealanders Using Big OE To Save Indigenous Wildlife in Africa

Young New Zealanders are increasingly using their big OE to help wildlife conservation according to the founder of the International Working Holidays (IWH), the specialist overseas employment agency. 
So popular are its overseas wildlife conservation projects that IWH has now added FreeMe, an African suburban animal rescue and rehabilitation programme to the range of volunteer adventures on offer to New Zealanders. 
Vicki Kenny, IWH chief executive says that the organisation has been offering African Volunteer Adventures for over a year and has seen a huge amount of interest from young New Zealanders wanting to help with and learn about wildlife conservation. IWH works with TB-free lion breeding programmes, rhino and elephant projects as well as other accredited African wildlife conservation organisations. 
She adds: `Our African Adventures have been so popular. In the first month alone we had more than 400 enquiries. Since then, it’s far exceeded our expectations. We’re hearing from a wide variety of young New Zealanders, but particularly those who are considering careers in veterinary medicine, veterinary nursing or zoology and animal husbandry. But it’s not all about the big animals, such as lions, elephants and rhinos.’
FreeMe is a rehabilitation centre for indigenous wildlife based in the north of Johannesburg. It was founded in 1997 by a group of trained rehabilitators who realised that there was not enough organised care for indigenous wildlife.
Vicki explains: ‘Each year thousand of birds, mammals and reptiles living in Johannesburg gardens or suburbs become orphaned, sick or suffer injuries. Most veterinarians do not have facilities to cater for wildlife, leaving would-be rescuers unable to determine what to do with them. FreeMe has filled this gap. New Zealand volunteers can learn about the specialised treatment from experts and help with care and rehabilitation of some amazing wildlife until they can be released. Many of them will bring that experience back to New Zealand where it may help improve our own conservation management.’
FreeMe assignments are available as two, four, six or eight week options. Volunteers taking longer options are offered various certified courses, which are aimed at helping prepare them for careers in animal care. These include: Orientation, feeding and cage care – given on arrival
  • Clinic Skills – after 3 weeks on the project
  • Animal First Aid – after 6 weeks on the project
  • Ad Hoc Specialised [seasonal] courses: Bat Care, Bird Care and many more 

Vicki Kenny says: ` Travelling to and finding volunteer projects in Africa is a big adventure, but a lot of people do need expert help in finding the right placement. We make it easy to organise and find the perfect volunteer holiday so you can experience a life changing adventure overseas, safely and legally.’

Further information:
Vicki Kenny, IWH: 027 670 9968
Peter Boyes, BPR: 0275 540 500

Rural Business Network Launches Free Mentoring Initiative

The Rural Business Network (RBN) in partnership with Business Mentors New Zealand (BMNZ) has launched a new initiative to increase mentoring support to rural businesses throughout New Zealand, which are facing increasing levels of stress from falling dairy prices, tighter regulations on health and safety, and environmental controls.
The new Rural Mentor initiative sees the BMNZ registration fee waived for selected NZYF and Rural Business Network members for a limited period.
Daile Jones, Rural Business Network Coordinator says: `Farmers in the sheep, beef or dairy sector operating their own business or farm managers that want a fresh perspective, will be matched with a business professional who can offer confidential advice, assistance and support that will help overcome business challenges, set new goals and achieve success. There’s no lack of knowledge out there, just a shortage of knowing what information is available.’

Ray Schofield CEO of Business Mentors New Zealand says: `The purpose of this initiative is to assist rural businesses and remove any real or perceived barriers to business owners accessing support from BMNZ. Business mentors are experienced, successful business people who come from a wide range of industry backgrounds, from farm gate and beyond, who understand New Zealand business. They are passionate, committed individuals who want to see their communities and New Zealand grow and prosper. Our locally based coordinators are highly skilled in matching the right mentor to fit individual needs.
`A business mentor is unique one-to-one, confidential and highly experienced in the trials and tribulations of running a small to medium sized enterprise. One of the big things is the isolation which rural businesses are often faced. A business mentor takes that away and provides a sounding board to take the company to the next level.’
Business Mentors New Zealand is the country’s only national volunteer business mentoring service. The not for profit organisation helps around 250 businesses find a mentor every month and has assisted more than 70,000 small to medium-size enterprise owners in New Zealand since 1991. Business Mentors provides access to almost 2,000 volunteer mentors (who give their experience, skill and knowledge free of charge). The registration fee covers administration and matching.
To apply, simply contact Rural Business Network on 021 919 801 or

For more information on mentoring please visit

Highest value of mid-market deals boosts private equity and venture capital markets

The New Zealand Private Equity and Venture Capital Monitor, released today, recorded the highest value of mid-market deals (investment and divestment) in the twelve years of the Monitor and the highest number of deals since 2008. The level of deals with disclosed values increased to NZ$243.5m from NZ$191.5m in 2013.

Total activity across all private equity and venture capital was NZ$919.5m, down from $1.1b in 2013, mainly due to there being no large buy-outs. Total investment value was NZ$299.3m spread across 81 deals, while total divestment was still high, but decreased slightly to NZ$620.3m in 2014, down from NZ$665.4m in 2013. Venture and early-stage investment value increased marginally to NZ$55.8m across 62 deals.
‘While the high level of mid-market activity was expected given economic conditions, it was great to see this playing out in practice, with private capital aligning and finding a home with ambitious and entrepreneurial New Zealand founders, owners and management wanting to see those businesses taken to their next stage. The number of mid-market deals was significantly up on the previous year and the average deal value remained steady at NZ$12.8m’, says Brad Wheeler, partner EY.

Mid-market divestment value in 2014 increased significantly driven by the initial public offering of Metroglass and Scales Corp by Crescent Capital and Direct Capital respectively.
The volume of mid-market deals increased during 2014 with the average deal value of NZ$12.8m being in-line with 2013. Venture and early-stage investment average deal value was NZ$0.9m across 62 deals.
Venture and early-stage investment in IT and software continued to grow and be the dominant sector for VC activity with a marked drop in the health/biosciences sector.
The outlook for the New Zealand PE and VC market continues to be optimistic as a result of continued strong business confidence and economic growth. 
‘The consistent level of mid-market activity reflects the deep pool of target companies in this space,’ says Matt Riley, chair of NZVCA. ‘Private businesses don’t just need capital; they also need skills to complement those of their founders and management executives. A strong alignment of interests between investors, owners and management goes to the heart of private equity success and delivers a powerful model for achieving the shared aspirations of all stakeholders.’
The strength of the mid-market was evident in 2014,says NZVCA executive director Colin McKinnon.New Zealand privately owned businesses and innovative entrepreneurs are continuing to find effective capital accompanied by skills that help deliver excellent results. New Zealand capital markets – public and private – are evolving with innovative products across the spectrum. Crowd-funding is being established for young companies while the NXT exchange will add options for larger companies. Private markets and privately-owned companies continue to dominate the New Zealand business landscape. 
 ‘Behind the numbers are stories of Kiwi founders and owners who have built strong businesses with innovation and determination. When we have a year of strong investment activity we know that more businesses are growing and that makes a difference to New Zealand’s economic prospects.
Wheeler adds: ‘For the year ahead, the PE and VC fund managers outlook remains optimistic, with the market and capital fundamentals continuing to encourage transaction activity. EY’s latest Capital Confidence Barometer also hints at a strengthening view of the global economy, while the local NZ economy is seen to be plateauing into a positive and stable position ahead.’

The full year EY and NZVCAMonitor results 2014 show:
· Total investment value in 2014 was $299.3m spread across 81deals. The mid-market was the driving force with highest value of mid-market deals (investment and divestment) in the last twelve years and the highest number of deals since 2008
·  Mid-market investment increased from the $191.5 m in 2013 to $243.5 m across nineteen deals averaging $12.8m
 · Venture early stage investment activity increased from $54.8m in 2013 to $55.8m as investor confidence in the New Zealand technology sector continued to grow, with software and services being dominant while health/bioscience receded
· There was no buy-out investment recorded in 2014 and two divestments
· total of 81 investments occurred in 2014, on par with the 82 in 2013, with average deal value decreasing from $5.6m to $3.7m, reflecting the lack of large LBO activity compared to 2013
· Total divestment value declined from $665m in 2013 to $620m in 2014 with mid-market providing a significant NZ$148.3m of the divestment activity
· Venture and early-stage investment activity maintained momentum with 62 deals of NZ$55.8m total investment value of compared with 66 deals of total value of NZ$54.8m in 2013
· There were no new funds raised in 2014 as managers were actively building portfolios following recent capital raising and other managers were returning capital from successful divestments.

Time For Women To Be Doing It For Themselves In Growth Equity

There’s never been a better time for women to be making their mark in growth equity, a meeting hosted by the NZVCA at the Auckland offices of Minter Ellison Rudd Watts heard this week (3rd May 2015). 
The gathering of women with an interest in growth equity markets heard that women mentoring women, women investing in women and unprecedented opportunities brought about by changing technology were all key to a sea change in gender diversity in the sector in New Zealand.
Speaking at the Women in Growth Equity meeting on Wednesday 29th April, Franceska Banga, CEO of the New Zealand Venture Investment Fund says: ‘I can’t think of a better time to be a woman growth capital. The lack of women in the sector is itself an opportunity to step up and stand out. 
But a number of other factors such as the massive disruption caused by new technologies, including traditional industries and the favourable economic cycle, means there are opportunities for experienced business women to step up, including at director level, within growth companies. It’s time for women to stop taking calls and start making calls and be successful in venture capital.’
She points out that the US has seen rapid advancement for women in equity markets in recent years but that New Zealand is still lagging behind, noting that a recent NZX survey of 109 listed companies found there were 577 male directors compared with only 79 female directors and of the top 44 NZX companies by income all have male CEOs.
But Franceska Banga says the answer lies in women’s own hands: ` There is a growing awareness that to make a difference we have to want to encourage other women to take on leadership roles. That means being willing to mentor them. I know it is hard to get female mentors but we do have a responsibility to find ways to mentor other women.’
Marie-Claire Andrews, CEO of event app company ShowGizmo, agrees that technology offers great opportunities for women in high growth companies but warns: 'there is still a belief amongst investors and the ecosystem in New Zealand that women aren't as skilled and able to lead tech companies and it's our responsibility as entrepreneurs to get out and show them what's possible - over and over again'.
Laura McKenzie, CEO of Australasian female focused angel investor network, Scale Investors comments: `Women represent less than 4% of venture funded companies in Australia and less than 2% of angel investors.  We believe that there is a strong correlation between the number of angel investors and the number of female entrepreneurs receiving funding.  In the last 2 years, Scale has formed a community of over 70 Angel investors and we have spoken to almost 500 female entrepreneurs. We believe that part of the solution is to train more women to be investors, and that is why we started Scale.

Support For Migrants Prompts New Initiative by New Zealand Ethnic Communities and Community Mentors

Community Mentors and the Office of Ethnic Communities, Te Tari Matawaka, (OEC) have announced a new initiative to provide mentoring support to organisations which work to help migrants and refugees settle throughout New Zealand.
Ray Schofield, Community Mentors CEO says the organisation is delighted to be able to offer this vital initiative in partnership with OEC: 
`The Community Mentors service has been developed by the Business in the Community Charitable Trust in order to represent its increasing activity in providing mentoring services throughout New Zealand to the wider not-for-profit sector. Our organisation has more than 500 experienced community mentors who volunteer their time to guide, support and develop the fibre of thriving communities.'
The Director of OEC, Berlinda Chin, believes that community mentoring will be an invaluable support to the process of settling in. She says:
'We want to contribute to a New Zealand that welcomes and celebrates diversity, where refugees and migrants settle well and are able to contribute to our nation in all aspects of life - social, economic, civic and cultural.'
A community mentor provides one-to-one, confidential and in depth experience about the challenges of running a social enterprise. Ray explains:
'One of the key issues facing community organisations is the difficulty of separating good governance from operational management. A community mentor helps develop strategies to do that and provides a sounding board to take the organisation to the next level.'
In 2014, Community Mentors launched a pilot for the community sector with four partners, collaborating in the development of a dedicated pilot for the Taranaki Region. 
The Community Mentors programme is now being rolled out across New Zealand as well as in partnership with a number of key organisations.
The Office of Ethnic Communities (OEC) works to promote the benefits of ethnic diversity for every New Zealander and to provide the highest quality advice on ethnic diversity issues.