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Small business experts gather in Wellington
Friday 20 April 2012, 3:19PM
By Massey University


Experts in entrepreneurship and small to medium-sized businesses will gather in the capital in June for the 2012 International Council for Small Business World Conference.
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to hear, and interact with, the best brains on entrepreneurship and SMEs in the world,” says Professor Claire Massey, head of Massey University’s School of Management, and a member of the conference organising committee.

“It’s a huge event – we are anticipating some 400 attendees listening to around 250 presentations – with an extremely broad programme. There are 18 tracks, or topic streams, and each includes papers by world experts in their fields. There will never be this much expertise in New Zealand again.”

The conference tracks include indigenous entrepreneurship, education and training, social and economic development, small business management, new venture creation, female entrepreneurship, and this year’s theme, ‘Leading from the Edge’.

“The theme was a very deliberate choice, because that’s the position New Zealand is in. We are a small country, isolated from global markets, and while that presents many challenges, it encourages us to think creatively,” Professor Massey says.

The Leading from the Edge track will focus on pioneering entrepreneurial behaviour during challenging times. Both man-made ‘events’ and natural disasters can create new environments for entrepreneurial activity – an issue that is particularly relevant to New Zealand after the Canterbury earthquakes last year.

The other session with a uniquely New Zealand flavour is the indigenous entrepreneurship track, which is in the conference programme for the first time. Researchers will have an opportunity to showcase their work on an international stage because the best conference papers will also be published in a special issue of the Journal of Australian Indigenous Issues.

The conference’s keynote speakers include Professor Saras Sarasvathy from the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia, media commentator Rod Oram, and Robert Sun-Quae Lai, chairman of the APEC Small and Medium Enterprises Working Group.

There will also be a Doctoral Consortium, where PhD candidates can present their thesis proposals and gain feedback from experienced academics, and an optional Public Agencies Forum that will explore ways for government to better engage with the small business sector.

2012 will be the first time the conference has been held in New Zealand, and business educators, researchers, policy makers and practitioners from around the world are expected to attend.

Massey University’s Centre for Small and Medium Enterprise Research successfully bid to host the conference, along with the Small Enterprise Association of Australia and New Zealand, Wellington City Council, and Grow Wellington. The event will take place from June 10-13, with early bird registration closing on May 1.

For more information about the conference visit: INDEX