After nearly 20 years, it’s time for a change…

Posted by Andy Hamilton on 26/07/2019 10:30:00 AM

In another day in the life of The Icehouse and the cause to help Kiwi business owners and founders reach their potential, after more than 18 years I will be transitioning out of my role as CEO and onto the Board of Icehouse Ventures as an Executive Director.  The Icehouse has been an amazing cause to be a part of especially when we see the impact, the results and outcomes on not only the businesses, but the people in their lives! It has never been about the money for us, it has always been about impact, and that is why we are in such a great position after just over 6,500 days of Icehouse existence…

When I started as the first paid person in 2001 I never realised how much joy it would give, how much challenge and how many amazing people I would get to interact with. What a wonderful opportunity I (and we) have been given. Thanks to all our customers, investors, and partners who contributed to the first 18 years of The Icehouse.

Since then, the Icehouse has worked with thousands of owner managers and founders, and these people have created of 27,285 new jobs, generated $15.5 billion of new revenue, of which $3.7 billion is from international markets and their work has caused us to be on track for enabling a 10% impact on New Zealand’s GDP by 2021. We have also expanded the regional footprint to Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne and will shortly enter the Bay of Plenty region.


The last few years have been about getting the startup side of the Icehouse into a new future, focusing on capitalisation and launching Icehouse Ventures with our investing partners Simplicity, Jarden, K1W1 and a whole bunch of our Icehouse and Ice Angels network. Our established owner manager, leadership & coaching programmes have gone from strength to strength over the years helping more than 1,500 growth businesses across New Zealand and fundamentally shifting their potential forever, with the establishment of the regional offering through the Hawke’s Bay and also the successful growth of our Australian partner, who has just signed a massive partnership to scale the Australian owner manager offerings.

It is now an exciting opportunity to take a step up for the team with the support of the board, to chart the future and for the new CEO to come in, listen and then guide the Waka into the next few years. New inputs, new alternatives will naturally arise but founded and based off our core of enabling the potential of Kiwi business owners and founders to be achieved is something that this cause deserves.

What happens from here? The Icehouse Board will conduct a process to identify the next CEO, and who I believe will have a great opportunity for lifelong satisfaction from their role. It is an unparalleled opportunity to make a difference to New Zealand’s economy and build on the solid foundations of what we have achieved in the last 18 years – the 10% goal is not quite there and we will of course need to reset and create new goals. I will continue to lead the team until a full transition has been completed. 

I am so excited for the future of the Icehouse and the team that will take it forward. One of our three values at the Icehouse is stronger together. We have always believed that first no-one wakes up brilliant and second that we operate a network model of people around our customers, we don’t have a supply chain, we don’t have a control thesis, we believe in diversity and collective input. We have believed that to enable a great business is a team game, and it requires co-dependency of many people from our awesome facilitators, our coaches, our advisors, our speakers, our panellists, our investors, our board members and our partners – you know it takes a village to raise a child. So, while my role as CEO will come to an end, my role in partnering with others to help Kiwi owners and founders will continue into the future.

I want to remind us all about our tribe of owners, founders and leaders in Kiwi businesses. They are the heroes of NZ. It is hard starting and growing a business, and I’d like to thank them all for the honour to help them in some way.

My final reflection is on the 100 or so Icehousers and our core facilitators and coaches, both existing and ex who have jumped into the Waka to help others, and in process have helped themselves immeasurably. I love that we are non-linear, I love that we thumb our nose at the establishment, and I am very grateful to you all for the hard work, the belief and commitment and I challenge you to keep on doing it – remember the world is shaped by the unreasonable person, so don’t worry what people say, keep being unreasonable and demanding of others and yourself. Our owners, our founders need us to be that for them to reach their potential.

See you on the other side of the fence …..


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