The inaugural Waikato Business Summit was held in 2017 with the aim of providing local entrepreneurs and business people an opportunity to connect, learn and grow.  The Waikato Business Summit continues to be held in the beautiful Hamilton Gardens as part of the annual Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival.

Local and regional business communities return year on year to discuss the year ahead with recognised local and national business leaders and key influencers.

The Summit is a highlight of the regional business calendar.

Topics to be discussed include:
  • 2019 to 2023 – what will be the defining business trends shaping NZ through to 2023 and how will the business decisions of last year influence the landscape of the next four years? Who better than Grant Robertson, our Minister of Finance, to take us through his views on this journey.
  • Waikato Economic Development – what is Te Waka’s view of the future of business in Waikato? Hear how the regions newest economic development agency will bring the possibility of a new future.
  • ANZ Economic Update – ANZ Economist Sharon Zollner on what to expect in 2019 and how economic trends can be strategically applied to future business planning, today.
  • Panel Discussion – How does today’s business….succeed tomorrow? Our panelists bring unique and vast perspectives to influence making business decisions today that will best position you for future opportunities. Is the future IT? Is it social enterprise? Is it HR?


Wednesday 27 February 2019
1.15pm – 6.00pm


Pacific Crystal Palace
Governor’s Lawn, Hamilton Gardens


$150 inc gst
Ticket price also includes afternoon tea, canapés and refreshments with live entertainment from 5.00pm

Join us for a full afternoon of speakers and networking opportunities


1:15pm Registration opens

1:30pm Welcome: Andrew King – Mayor of Hamilton

1:35pm Minister of Finance, Hon Grant Robertson

  • The last year
  • Current issues
  • The next 4 years
  • Q & A

2:20pm Waikato Economic Development Update – Michael Bassett-Foss, CEO, Te Waka

3:00pm NZ and Global Economic Update – Sharon Zollner, Chief Economist, ANZ

3:40pm Break

4:00pm Moderated Panel Discussion – How does todays’s business…. succeed tomorrow?

  • Moderator – Greg Sheehan FCA & Founder & CEO of Rocketship
  • Demystifying Challenges – Sue Pak, NZ Head of Accounting, Xero
  • Social and Community – Kelvyn Eglinton, CEO, Momentum Waikato
  • Break through Entrepreneur – Elliot Jessep
  • Voice of future business leaders – Gemma Major Co-founder and Chair, Seed Waikato
  • Great Business – Darrel Hadley, MD, Good George Brewer

5:00pm to 6:00pm Drinks, nibbles, light entertainment

The Waikato Business Summit follows the morning session of the Chartered Accountants ANZ Waikato Regional Conference.

Theme: Meeting Future Business Demands With Ease.



Hon. Grant Robertson was born in Palmerston North and lived in Hastings before his family settled in Dunedin. Grant’s belief in social justice and a desire to see every New Zealander able to achieve their potential led him to politics, and he has been the Member of Parliament for Wellington Central since 2008.

Grant studied politics at Otago, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in 1995. After leaving university, Grant joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and was also posted to the United Nations in New York. On his return to New Zealand he became an advisor to then-Minister of Environment Marian Hobbs, then to Prime Minister Helen Clark.

In Opposition, Grant was Finance Spokesperson, and has previously held spokesperson roles for Labour in Employment, Skills & Training, Economic Development, Tertiary Education, State Services, Health, and Arts, Culture & Heritage. Grant currently stands as Associate Minister Arts, Culture and Heritage, Minister of Sport and Recreation, and Minister for Finance.


Economic development has long been a feature of Michael’s career and is something he has a true passion for. His commercial background spans international corporate, small business New Zealand, government and not-for-profit sectors and he has had strong involvement in growing businesses.

Prior to moving back to Hamilton, Michael was chair of the Economic Development Associations of New Zealand (EDANZ) for a number of years and manager of economic development at Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, where he led the Hawke’s Bay’s Regional Economic Development Strategy. Most recently he was project director of the multimillion-dollar Water Wairarapa project.

Michael believes the Waikato region is at an exciting stage of its development and he acknowledges the work of Waikato Means Business and the local councils and businesses that have played a part in getting this region to where it is today. He is looking forward to the impact he can make in his new role, CEO of Te Waka, Waikato’s economic development agency


Sharon joined the Economics team in 2010 and became Chief Economist in late 2017. She started her career as a macroeconomist at the Reserve Bank of New Zealand in 1998, and has also worked at the Central Bank of Norway. Sharon created the Truckometer in 2012. She has a particular interest in Big Data and machine learning and its potential applications in macroeconomics.




Greg Sheehan (FCA) has a deep belief for encouraging others to lead purposeful and adventurous lives and genuinely sees the profound opportunity for accountants to directly work alongside small business owners to do the same.

Gregs career includes being the CFO of Nike Australia, the Group Financial Controller for Air New Zealand and the General Manager/National Secretary of the National Party. Stepping back to a non Executive Director role at RightWay has given him the space to pursue a second startup, as well as working as a consultant and adviser to other businesses.


A senior business leader with a wealth of experience across the accounting profession, within public practice, corporates and small business. Sue has now been with Xero for 10 years – and it’s been an incredible ride! Xero is now one of the fastest growing Software as a Service (SaaS) companies globally. They lead the New Zealand, Australian, and United Kingdom cloud accounting markets, employing a world-class team of more than 2,000 people. Technology is rapidly driving change across business and the accounting profession. In her role as Head of Accounting, Sue is speaking, facilitating discussion about this change, demystifying challenges, sharing insights, trends and stories, and connecting experts to assist, as accountants navigate change and take on new opportunities that cloud platforms provide.

Sue is a member of Chartered Accountants ANZ (25+ years), an Auckland CAANZ Regional Councillor, and a Fellow of CPA Australia and a former business owner, so understands the challenges the industry is facing.


A Specialist in global Corporate Social Responsibility strategy and implementation.  An executive manager adept in multi-partner strategies, business planning and economic development, issues management, stakeholder engagement including Government and media relations and determining risk and resolution for business and social outcomes.

Kelvin is now the Chief Executive for Momentum Waikato.  He was previously the City Growth General Manager for the Hamilton City Council.


Eliot Jessep is what you might call an accidental entrepreneur. At 23, he operates a highly successful e-commerce businesses, sold real estate, dabbled in broadcasting, and given talks to other aspiring young business.  His business and personal success story is made more remarkable by the facts he left school at 16 & lost his mother Paula in a car crash, and has only recently been able to forge a relationship with his father.


A recipient of Hamilton City Council’s 30 under 30 and Waikato125, Gemma Major is the Chair and Co-founder of Seed Waikato, an award-winning start-up social enterprise passionately focused on empowering the largest generation on living record, millennials. Seed Waikato creates innovative opportunities to connect and grow through their events and workshops, and this year will pilot a digital education programme, build a pipeline of young people to move into governance, provide consulting to business on millennials, and launch a regional mental health resource. As a proud member of Philanthropy New Zealand’s Youth Advisory Group, she is also passionate about re-defining philanthropy in Aotearoa to foster greater innovation, diversity and inclusion.


After graduating from Waikato Uni with a Law degree he decided instead to indulge his inner entrepreneur and turned his part-time bar tending job into a career in the food & beverage industry. Along the journey he has forged several successful business partnerships creating and operating some iconic hospitality brands. His current baby is craft brewery Good George which has experienced rapid growth in a crowded market on the back of savvy and off-the-wall marketing. Good George currently employs over 200 people across it brewery and seven hospitality venues with more venues opening in other region. Good George has a strong history of collaboration with other local businesses creating unique and successful products such as Rocket Coffee IPA and Zealong Tea Amber Ale. In another successful local partnership they also supply all of the beverages to the Hobbiton Movie Set in Matamata.

Join us for a full afternoon of speakers and networking opportunities

A Huge THANK YOU to our Sponsors: