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Trans-Tasman Agribusiness Programme Ends

The first stage of the inaugural trans-Tasman agribusiness programme has just finished, with participants from NZ and Australia’s farming sectors giving the course a resounding ‘thumbs up’.

The programme, developed by The ICEHOUSE as an agrarian answer to its highly successful Owner Manager Programmes (OMP), focuses on business growth and turning agricultural-based innovation into wealth.

The 18 participants have been drawn equally from NZ and Australia, and the differences in farming, economic and weather issues have provided valuable insights. Bay of Plenty’s Donald Fraser, a farm finance advisor, says it was one of the best pieces of accelerated learning he has been on, with high level discussion and ‘an interesting take on the Aussie perspective and issues, particularly in terms of lower crop yield and its impact on farm debt’.

“I figured I had a great business, but I need to make sure I enjoy the benefits of it,” says Fraser.

ICEHOUSE Manager Jo Patterson says the agribusiness programme arose from the success of the business accelerator’s Owner Managers Programmes. “We pulled a group of experts together as an Advisory Group to look at the agri-business sectors in both Australia and New Zealand, and their opportunities for business growth.”

The result is a specialist agricultural business growth programme that enables the agribusiness person to better understand their business model, the channels to market, the power of brands, and their role as business leader, and industry leader. The programme consists of four, 3-day modules alternating between specialist agri-centres in NZ and Australia, from now until July. Patterson says that trans-Tasman ingenuity and innovation on the farm is amongst the best in the world, but it frequently fails to turn into sustainable wealth. Until now, there has never been a programme offered to the leading owner managers in this sector that specifically addresses the matter of growth. Masterton sheep and beef farmer Richard Hay says growing and sustaining wealth was one of the goals; the others were to gain a better understanding of management, particularly with an eye to future planning. According to Hay, the programme is shaping up well, although it is early days (with three modules to go – two in Australia and one more in NZ).

“It gave a basic grounding of the financials and a good insight into what will be important going forward,” he says. ‘When I came home, I couldn’t stop thinking about all the possibilities it opened up in my mind.”

The Agribusiness Programme has been developed by The ICEHOUSE in conjunction with the University of Auckland Business School, Massey University and the University of Melbourne. Presenters from Lincoln University rounded out the first module, making it a unique university quattro exercise.

Agribusiness blocks will run one month apart with blocks held in both countries, with the next block being held at the Mt Eliza Business School in June. Registrations of interest are already being lodged with The Icehouse for the 2005 course (

About The ICEHOUSE The ICEHOUSE (The International Centre for Entrepreneurship) was established in 2001 by the University of Auckland Business School, alongside a number of industry partners. A Business Accelerator, it is focussed on creating greater numbers of successful international New Zealand companies through education, incubation, and research.

Notes to editors: The Icehouse agribusiness programme is for owner-managers of agribusiness organisations in Australia and New Zealand, across the spectrum of farming, cropping, horticulture, fishing, food processing, seafood and beverages, and their suppliers, processors, industry co-operatives and marketing boards.

Where: Each venue will be at the centre of a specialist agricultural area. Successful growers from each area will take a keynote speaker role at each block, giving insights into how they have addressed the specific issues they’ve faced. Block courses are also tailored to nurture peer groupings, providing a collegial atmosphere for future collaboration amongst participants.

When: run over 4 residential blocks of 3 days each, one month apart.

Block 1: 14 - 16 April 2004 (Christchurch, NZ)
Block 2: 1 - 3 June 2004 (Victoria, Australia)
Block 3: 29 June - 1 July 2004 (Queensland, Australia)
Block 4: 27 - 30 July 2004 (Auckland, NZ)

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