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Old B*stards, With Brilliant Ideas

9673 Icehouse Feature
9673 Icehouse Feature

Welcome to our latest article! We decided this was a good idea because let’s face it, there are plenty of them! And here’s the place you will find out about men and women who have made a difference, those who for some reason, continue to stand out from the crowd through achievement or opinion or some other outrageous act. Feel free to nominate those you want to hear from and we will do our best to find and talk to them.

To kick off what’s going to be an inspiring and hopefully provoking feature of our online life, we asked The Icehouse business growth centre CEO, Andy Hamilton to tell us how The Icehouse is working with our demographic:

Is The Icehouse working with a few Old B*stards with Brilliant Ideas (male or female)?

We sure are. The Icehouse helps Kiwi start-ups and businesses grow which means we get to meet and work with people who may just have an idea to those who have been in a successful business for more than 20 years. We don’t just deal with young guns. We work with business owners and managers of all ages – old bastards very much included!

We’ve worked with the likes of Hamish Whyte of Furnware, Brent Sutton of Sutton Group and Bernie Crosby of Prolife Foods.

What stands out about the 50+ entrepreneur?

They’re experienced with a no bullshit attitude. They’ve been around the block a few times so they aren’t naïve and they mostly have a high level of business acumen. The 50+ entrepreneur usually has a sense of calm about them and a methodical approach to things. They may have a crazy idea, but their implementation is planned and well thought-out. So while they may get ‘business’, they want support, guidance and often someone to hold them accountable.

Are there a lot of people aged 50+ mentoring younger companies?

We have a team of experienced Executives in Residence (EiRs) and a pool of more than 30 coaches who work formally with businesses on a one on one basis. These EiRs and coaches often tap into their networks and will get some ‘old bastards’ on board to provide advice and governance to the business they are working with.

Challenges for this age group in business?

The business world is constantly evolving. A major challenge for this age group can be keeping up with technology and ways to run business. Sometimes they can be late adopters of technology or processes which means they may feel a bit behind the eight ball. The Icehouse provides a vast network of Kiwi and international business owners who can be easily tapped into – ideas are shared, challenges are discussed and it means this group keeps up with the play.

Many in start-ups?

Absolutely! Some of NZ’s most successful start-ups are led by some awesome old bastards. They often have that crucial experience to take an idea and turn it into a successful business. They know how the business world works and often also have valuable networks in their industries. We frequently work with older entrepreneurs that had very successful careers in corporates or SMEs and now want to go out and do their own thing. And of course there are also those that have just always been entrepreneurs and are not letting their age stop them from starting new businesses.

Opportunities for this age group working with The Icehouse? And those with capital looking to work with and/or invest with businesses?

There’s huge opportunity for this age group. If they’re involved in a Start-up or a Kiwi business that wants to grow – we’re the ones to talk to. We also have New Zealand’s largest Angel Investment Group – ICE Angels. Those interested in Angel investing can apply to be an ICE Angels member and become part of this network of active investors backing and working with high-potential Kiwi start-ups.