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Impressed by the three panellists’

entrepreneurial successes, the conference

participants asked them to comment on

opportunities for upcoming NZ university

graduates in the NZ-Asia nexus. Instead of

making a list, however, all the three speakers

stressed the importance of cultural intelligence,

Asian languages proficiency, perseverance, and

resilience. In other words, opportunities would

come to those who were ready for them. When

asked what they would do differently if starting

all over again, the panellists did not hesitate

to say that they would devote more resources

and attention, and at a much earlier stage,

to putting together a bilingual and culturally

attuned operation team on the ground. They

would also broaden their market research

to cover more subject areas, including local

political landscapes.

The three speakers in the second panel were

Rhonda Kite,

CEO and Director of KIWA

Middle East,

Scott Kington and Greig Brebner


Co-Founders of Blunt Umbrellas, and

Chintaka Ranatunga

, Managing Director of

Global from Day One Fund II. They elaborated

on opportunities for NZ entrepreneurs through

their personal experiences. Speaking over

skype from Abu Dhabi, Rhonda Kite told

the audience that it was her fascination

with technology and broadcasting that

took her on her career path of audio post

production, dubbing software development for

broadcasting, and experiential electronic book

creation. Likewise, it was her curiosity about

other cultures and about doing business in an

unfamiliar environment that brought her to

where she was. She admitted that it was not

easy for a woman to work in the Middle East.

Yet she discovered and experienced cross-

cultural synergies and their positive impact on

people-to-people connections. That not only

gave her comfort to “hang in there”, but also

encouraged her to keep working on technology

solutions to the challenge of addressing diverse

education needs and fulfilling everyone’s “right

to gain knowledge according to their language

and learning abilities”.