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Pilot Visa Programme Drives Economic And Social Impact For Aotearoa NZ

A unique immigration pilot programme to attract global entrepreneurs and innovators to Aotearoa New Zealand is driving millions in new investment, helping Kiwi businesses grow and break into global markets, and supporting communities tackle local and systemic challenges.

The Global Impact Visa programme pilot, which was completed this year by the Edmund Hillary Fellowship (EHF), has attracted outstanding global talent with the Fellowship made up of more than 500 innovators, entrepreneurs and investors, including over 100 New Zealand Fellows.

The latest Annual Report for the Hillary Institute and the Edmund Hillary Fellowship highlights the significant impact that Hillary Laureates and EHF Fellows have delivered in Aotearoa NZ - and around the world - during the 2022/23 financial year. The report features findings from an impact study by independent researchers, showing that Fellows helped Kiwi businesses raise more than NZD $312m of capital, and directly invested more than NZD$115m in a single year.

Reflecting on the impact and achievements over the last year, Board Chair, Anna Kominik says:

“We have seen another year of standout impact by our Laureate and Fellow community. Fellows have provided a much-needed boost to Kiwi businesses using their connections, expertise and entrepreneurial skills. As well as attracting and investing substantial sums of capital, they have gifted more than 5,000 hours to support New Zealand businesses scale and break into new markets.”

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Ms Kominik notes that in addition to significant economic benefit, Fellows have created substantial social impact by supporting communities, transforming systems and addressing inequalities.

“EHF Fellows have a strong commitment to service, which we saw in their rapid response to support the recovery efforts following Cyclone Gabrielle, providing innovative solutions for hard-hit communities. This is where we see Fellows embodying the humanitarian spirit of Sir Edmund Hillary, in their service and sheer determination.”

Ms Kominik points out these are common values shared by Hillary Laureates.

“The extreme weather events we have seen in Aotearoa NZ this year are symptomatic of climate change, which is a core focus for many of our Hillary Laureates. Their work is deeply important for understanding the context we are operating in globally - environmentally, socially and economically. Laureates are forging new models and reshaping existing systems; from Aimée Christensen championing regenerative food sources to Tim Jackson challenging post-growth thinking. Our Laureates are asking the big questions and providing the solutions.”

Finding and building solutions to our biggest challenges is an area where Fellows have stepped up during the past financial year, including supporting Aotearoa NZ’s innovation system, notes CEO Rosalie Nelson.

“Fellows have been adding value to our innovation system and filling productivity gaps. In some cases this has involved the creation of new businesses, which have generated more than 367 jobs and salary payments of NZD $40.5m. In other instances they have held governance and advisory roles to guide businesses to go global or supported Government agencies and organisations’ efforts to bridge gaps between New Zealand and markets like the US. In addition, Fellows are some of our most influential champions, as they are actively promoting New Zealand to the world as a place of sustainable innovation and entrepreneurship.” 

Ms Nelson notes that critical to supporting Fellows to partner with Aotearoa NZ has been the organisation’s cultural induction.

“In less than 12 months, we welcomed more than 200 Fellows (International and NZ) into Aotearoa NZ and the Fellowship. In partnership with Te Te Āti Awa Taranaki Whānui, we supported Fellows to build meaningful connections and grow their understanding of te ao Māori and Aotearoa NZ as a bi-cultural nation. This type of support is being recognised as unique and leading in the immigration and investment sectors.”

Looking ahead, Ms Nelson notes that the focus for the Hillary Institute and EHF’s next chapter is unlocking the full potential of Fellows and Laureates for Aotearoa NZ and the world, which was a key driver of The Mission Studio announced earlier this year.

“This year we will continue to build engaged and committed communities, connect Fellows with the innovation system, and support Fellows in their work including addressing inequalities and elevating community-based initiatives. And we will take our Mission Studio design into the pilot stage, to understand the power and potential of mission-led innovation that can, over time, shift systems.”

Ms Nelson concludes:

“Having successfully completed the Global Impact Visa programme and drawn together the Hillary Institute and EHF, we are in a strong position to support Fellows and Laureates to continue delivering significant impact for Aotearoa NZ, our people and planet, and I am excited by what we can build together.”

View the 2022/23 Annual Report here

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