The Icehouse did a vox pop among its network of businesses, asking : What is the number one characteristic of a Kiwi entrepreneur?

John Managh, managing director, Wilderness Motorhomes:

An entrepreneur has a blatant disregard for tall poppy syndrome.

Chris MacIean, MacIean: In my opinion, the number one characteristic is resilience. There will be more down days than up days, at least while you're getting things off the ground. There will be the non-believers, there will be those who don't want you to succeed for untold reasons, there will be the institutions who can't cope with entrepreneurial thinking. And then there will be the inspirational leaders who have gone before you to encourage you and the friends and family who simply don't care if you're successful or not, and tell you they know you can do it when your brain is screaming No and your heart is pounding Yes. What matters most is that you are truly resilient. You get up, slap a smile on your face, and keep going. And when you get smacked down, find your knees, then your feet and throw another punch until you land it and knock it out of the park.

Lesley Going, manager, Peninsula Medical Centre: NZ entrepreneurs have an unquenchable appetite for work, a strong sense for an opportunity, are highly adaptable, have strong problem solving skills and can successfully execute a plan.


Brett Henderson, Holdfast New Zealand: An entrepreneur is a person who can see small ideas and grow them.

Roy Richardson, Location Group: An entrepreneur is a person who has the courage to leave their comfort zone and enter the danger zone. A successful entrepreneur, when they trip, as happens to most at some point, they find a way to beat the impossible. A failed entrepreneur,when they trip, they quit and go in search of another dream. Anyone can take winning the true entrepreneur is defined by how well they overcome adversity.

Andrew Johnson, managing director, IT Partners: An entrepreneur will keep asking questions and relentlessly pursuing an idea, even after been told: "No", or: "Can't be done," many times. Some people will think that this is the entrepreneur trying to get an answer they want, but really it is a way to really to make sure that the question has been thought through, and provoke debate - which often produces other ideas.

Shannon Barrington, efreight logging: Scare yourself, don't be afraid. How else do you learn to build and put together your dream? That very first day when you decide: "That's it, I'm leaving my job and doing my passion," it is the freakiest day in your life. You stand alone feeling naked on one hand and yet free in the other.

Grahame Christian, managing director, Smart Environmental: An entrepreneur is optimistic and happy to rely on their skills. Don't listen to the naysayers.

John Fiso, CEO, New Zealand Institute of Sport: For entrepreneurs, there is a passion , commitment and an overwhelming belief in the product or service one is delivering.

David Hawes, managing director, Carlton Taylor Industries: Entrepreneurs care more than others think is wise, risk more than others think is safe, dream more than others think is practical and expect more than others think is possible. The number one thing is attitude.

Mike Manikas, managing director, New Zealand Office Supplies: The entrepreneur has a belief in being better than the norm, with the commitment and drive to succeed in the face of all adversity thrown at them.


Mike Orange, co founder, Dirtyman Skincare: The entrepreneur has pig headed determination in disregard of the doubters.

Tracey Orange, co founder, Dirtyman Skincare: To have enough self-belief to "fake it till I make it!

Paul Cameron, Booktrack: The number one characteristic of a Kiwi entrepreneur is tenacious optimism.

The Icehouse has opened up its network of contacts to help Kiwi entrepreneurs find answers to their most critical questions until September 13. The Icehouse will connect at least five people per week to others in its network who can help.

Questions can be submitted via The Icehouse website.

Next week: And speaking of never being too old to start a business, proud son, Tim Lightbourne, co-founder of Invivo Wines, got in touch recently to let me know about his Dad's business. It seems his work life is busier than ever even though he has passed retirement age. I'd love to hear your stories of businesses you have set up post-retirement, a time when you can really pursue your dreams with no worries about the mortgage hopefully.