Small business: Event organisers - Jenny Morel

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Jenny Morel is the founder and managing partner at venture capital firm No 8 Ventures and the CEO of Morgo Conferences

No 8 Ventures Management managing director Jenny Morel in their Wellington boardroom. Photo / NZH
No 8 Ventures Management managing director Jenny Morel in their Wellington boardroom. Photo / NZH

Morgo Conference is an annual conference targeting entrepreneurs, held this year September 4-6 in Queenstown.

Tell me about Morgo and the group of entrepreneurs you are appealing to.

Morgo is the annual get together for people actively engaged in building high growth companies into the world - CEOs, CTOs, CFOs, founders, very active board members and so on. It's an annual recharge and gets people re-excited about their business. The speakers are all people succeeding in overcoming challenges and building great businesses. But, attendees come not just for the great speakers but for who else is there. It's a really supportive and encouraging environment.

Why did you think this event was necessary and how has it evolved over the years?

This is the 11th Morgo. The first Morgo came about as I realised many entrepreneurs were so busy building their businesses, they didn't know each other.

It really can be a lonely business being an entrepreneur as it requires an awful lot of focus and often a huge amount of time travelling offshore. I wanted to encourage these people to meet each other and be motivated to grow their businesses even faster. While our speakers are always motivating, the real charge comes from catching up with everyone. Every year I ask: "Shall I do it again?" but the buzz in the room at Morgo every year just keeps me going. It's my annual recharge too.

What sort of feedback do you get from local and international entrepreneurs who have attended?

Here are some responses from recent attendees and speakers:

" There are US conferences where you can network with successful business executives but none that cover such a great cross section of the nation's successful ventures." -ZoomSystems' Gower Smith, San Francisco.

"Jenny Morel gets a very eclectic group of people together. You spend time with some extraordinarily smart people who you would not otherwise meet. It's socially and intellectually stimulating." -Ian Wright, Wrightspeed, San Jose.

"It is quite an oddly supportive industry as none of us compete with each other - we are very happy to see others' successes. One of the other unique things is that no one is trying to sell you anything, just share some stories and egg each other on." -YikeBike's Grant Ryan, NZ.

Its pretty unique and inspiring - a great place to network and re charge with a bunch of like minded entrepreneurs and executives who are competing and succeeding on the global stage." - PowerbyProxi's Greg Cross, NZ

What big deals/exciting things have happened at Morgo over the years?

When you get lots of entrepreneurs in a room together, there is a lot of activity! Rakon decided to list at Morgo and it's great to see Morgo regulars amongst the recent wave of listings.

We even have our own Morgo spinout, projectmanager.com. In the lunch break, founder Jason Westland ran his concept for a new business past Sam Morgan and Rod Drury. After the five minute pitch, he reworked his idea with some good advice and a new company was born and is doing very well too. We have some great stories from the Morgo community on PowerbyProxi, PikPok, Claudia Batten, SLI Systems, Wynyard Group, Gower Smith, Orion Health, Vista Entertainment, Dr Mark Sagar and ikeGPS.

These are all on our website morgo.co.nz.

What makes Morgo different from other business community get togethers?

It's focused on those that are actively building high growth companies - not the supporters. It's a really encouraging and supportive environment. We deliberately wanted to create a collegial environment where people don't feel they're being sold to or on show. We want to encourage people to be open and share the challenges as well as the successes and excitement of building a high growth business.
It's a great place for entrepreneurs and company builders to form very enduring relationships - and they build on these at Morgo year after year. But it's always great to see new faces too as we keep building the community.

Who have you got speaking this year?

We've got lots of great speakers from NZ and around the world. This year's theme is The Market, The Market, The Market. SLI's Shaun Ryan and Wynyard Group's Craig Richardson will be talking about their recent listings. We have Jonny Hendriksen back from Japan, where he listed a tech company at aged 30, and Steve Outtrim who did Sausage Software in the early days of the internet, coming back from San Francisco. Siobhan Bulfin, recently judged by Entrepreneur magazine to have one of the most exciting start ups in the world, is there

We also have a bunch of subject speakers:

Mark Breier on Wearable Technologies and Alex MacDonald on Public Private Partnerships in Space and Ian Wright on Electric Vehicles. We have UK design guru Bernard Dooling on The Customer and amazing US serial entrepreneur Deborah Lee Marlow. Add to this Australian entrepreneurs Jo Burston and Rebekah Campbell. We also have local success stories from entrepreneur of the year category winner, Cilla Hegarty from NZ Tax Refunds, Sir Ken Stevens from Glidepath and Shaun Maloney from rising star ARANZ Geo.

To secure one of the final places go to morgo.co.nz


Next week: We tend to associate corporate retreats or company conferences as something only for big companies. But for successful and fast growing SMEs,an informal getaway with your staff can be incredibly fruitful and doesn't have to cost the earth. Tell us how you get together with staff out of work.

I am especially interested in how internationally active New Zealand businesses manage to get their staff from all over the world together from time to time.

- NZ Herald

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