General Manager Innovation and Business Growth
Martin is an experienced Economic Developer, who has spent the last nine years with New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE), both here in Christchurch and in San Francisco. He brings a wealth of knowledge from both the private and public sectors and has a huge passion and enthusiasm for the growth of the city.
Alongside experience in business and economic development, Martin holds three degrees, including a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Canterbury and a postgraduate degree in Environmental Science from Monash University in Melbourne. He was also awarded excellence for a short course in Business Sustainability Management from the University of Cambridge.
We caught up with Martin a few weeks into his role at ChristchurchNZ to find out what his ambitions are for the Christchurch business community and innovation ecosystem and why he loves living in Ōtautahi.
What were some of the most inspiring Christchurch companies you worked with at NZTE, and why?
There are so many - Christchurch really is a hidden gem of innovation across a lot of sectors. I'm really inspired by companies that are innovative and doing good for the world. Hamilton Jet have just developed a new hybrid jet boat engine which is world-leading technology developed right here in Christchurch. Ethique has a very cool story on its mission to rid the world of plastic bottles, starting up from a home kitchen, through crowdfunding and then doing amazingly well overseas. Leaft Foods out in Lincoln are changing the way farming systems operate in a more sustainable way. We are fortunate to have a raft of incredible technology companies in the city. One of my favourites is Capital Preferences, a fintech company that is making significant global impact by helping financial institutions make purposeful and values driven investment decisions.
Those are the type of companies that get me really inspired - innovators that are making the world a better place.
How are you feeling about joining the ChristchurchNZ team after nine years at NZTE?
I'm really excited because I am a purpose-driven person and in my role at NZTE I was able to help rebuild the city after the earthquakes through working with some fantastic New Zealand exporters and building a solid business ecosystem for Christchurch and Canterbury.
So, coming into this role at ChristchurchNZ and to be able to continue to support the city into becoming a place that is highly productive and innovative with an inclusive economy is a pretty incredible opportunity.
How do you think your experience will translate to your role at ChristchurchNZ and how will it benefit our business community?
I was in a number of commercial roles post my MBA degree, so my commercial expertise runs deep. NZTE is very connected to its customers and one of the biggest things it does well is partnering with businesses. I've sat across exporters from early stage through to multi-billion dollar companies who have all got their challenges. To be a trusted partner with hundreds of New Zealand exporters with the ability to see what they've done well and the challenges they’ve faced is direct commercial experience and has given me knowledge and commercial skills that are really unique.
NZTE also gave me access to international business environments. Understanding the Chinese economy is very different to the US economy. There are particular areas like sustainability where the UK and Europe are ahead of New Zealand so we need to think about how we get a system going which helps companies become more impactful.
The other thing that I bring is a clear sense of purpose and a purpose-led team – and that’s exactly what we have here at ChristchurchNZ. I'm really keen to lead and develop my team to help support and grow the Christchurch business community.
What are your ambitions for Ōtautahi Christchurch?
I can imagine a city where businesses innovate and grow and our economic system is good for the world too. It's about innovation, creativity and inclusivity and about how we position the city to compete globally and to support entrepreneurs to realise their dreams. We have some really strong areas where Christchurch can compete and win globally, in a way that is good for the world.
We are such a resilient community and we’ve got through a lot by sharing and working together with creativity at all levels. I'm 100% committed and passionate to do my bit to help make the city all it can be.
How do you spend your free time?
At the moment a lot of my weekends involve being a poorly rated Uber driver for my 14-year-old daughter! Family is very important to me. I like to travel – with international borders closed I’ve really enjoyed checking out some of the spots in New Zealand with my family. I also love sports and have a team I am passionate about in most sports leagues around the world, but I especially love being part of the red and black Crusaders army and getting to as many All -Blacks games as possible.