A luxury tourism business founder says she's been overwhelmed with inquiries after floating a grassroots business funding idea to keep the America's Cup event in New Zealand.
Kyria Warren, of Luxury LAS, said she had been in contact with Team NZ to set a date for a meeting on the idea and said a range of businesses had contacted her.
"These businesses are pretty passionate about it — they're asking to join."
At the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron meeting where team boss Grant Dalton said he was looking offshore for offers to stage the event, Warren spoke on the importance of hosting the America's Cup in New Zealand.
Team NZ is looking to take the Cup event offshore after turning down an offer of $99 million in public money.
She said: "My concern is with New Zealand's economy, it's the ports, the hotels, the accommodation venues, Airbnb owners, taxi and uber drivers, chefs, all of these businesses win if the Cup is held here in Aotearoa".
Warren founded Luxury LAS, which arranges upmarket land, air and sea experiences, two years ago just before the pandemic, and it was designed around the America's Cup event.
"I went from having one charter boat to having 20 out on the water over the Cup. I was then able to expand and offer my clientele luxury accommodation options, private jets and helicopters."
Warren, a contestant on The Apprentice Aotearoa, said businesses which hiked prices during the Cup would be suited to pledge a percentage of their revenue to back Team NZ.
This could be around 5 per cent. She said the team would need upfront funding - around $100 million from big commercial sponsors in advance but the grassroots businesses could start contributing when they were making money while the event was staged. This could be up to another $100m.
She said she had been in touch with Team New Zealand about a meeting to discuss the idea.
Warren said it was a no brainer but she was aware of how daunting the challenge would be.
''Being one of the richest sports in the world, it would take a lot of companies to band together to make any sort of difference."
After four Covid lockdowns in 2020, Warren knew how hard it is to be in the tourism industry, how hard winter is going to be, and how much of a prize the Cup was to look forward to.
''I still feel positive about the idea, I always have the attitude that it is not over, until its over. If we all stop thinking small and start thinking big, we could quite possibly put New Zealand on the map.'