20 Feb 2012

Entrepreneurs 'important during economic turmoil'

7:27 am on 20 February 2012

A multi-millionaire New Zealand expat says entrepreneurs are even more important in tough economic times.

More than 400 businesspeople from around the world gather in Queenstown this week for the Entrepreneurs' Organisation's three-day conference.

The event, open to the organisation's 8000 members, is one of three staged worldwide each year and sold out within eight hours.

One of the keynote speakers is New Zealand-born Craig Nevill-Manning, the director of engineering at Google.

Mr Nevill-Manning says he's a firm believer that entrepreneurs are the fundamental driving force of the economy.

He says their role is especially relevant in times of economic turmoil, when some older businesses decrease in size and new ones arise to take their place.

"It's incredibly important, and an incredible opportunity, for entrepreneurs to come up with new ideas, use new technology and build new businesses."

Mr Nevill-Manning's wife Kirsten, director of Human Resources at Facebook, will also speak at the conference.

They'll join other high-flying New Zealanders Sarah Robb O'Hagan, the North American president of Pepsico's Gatorade, and Saatchi and Saatchi global head Kevin Roberts.