Kiwi entrepreneurs encouraged to keep their businesses home-based, not to take no for an answer and to pursue with passion

Kiwi entrepreneurs encouraged to keep their businesses home-based, not to take no for an answer and to pursue with passion

By Amanda Morrall

Industrial magnet maker Bill Buckley of Buckley Systems Ltd was crowned entrepreneur of the year last night by accounting firm Ernst & Young at its annual awards dinner to recognise Kiwi businesses owners who are making a difference.

The New Zealand-based BSL, which employs 260 staff, is recognised as a world leader in the manufacturing of magnetic components that are used to fabricate silicon chips. The company's precision electromagnets, which supply 80% of the world's market, are poised to grow even more in demand with their use in a machine to treat cancer.  

In his award speech, Buckley said the key to his success was individual doggedness, drive and passion, but he also credited  a workplace culture where employees were treated like "one big family.''

Buckley said the business, which turns over a NZ$100 million a year, was built on the back of an idea, a vision and NZ$12,000 which he scratched together from friends and family.

He encouraged would-be entrepreneurs not to give up on their dreams or to have their hopes dampened by others.  He jokingly confessed that his own father had turned him down for a seed loan in his early days.

Buckley, edged out finalists Doug Cleverly, Simon Gault, Victoria Ransom, Linda Jenkinson, Anthony Leighs and Sean Simpson for the title of Entrepreneur of the Year. He will go on to compete against entrepreneurs worldwide for the global awards in Monaco next year.

Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards Director Jon Hooper said the finalists were inspirational for having managed through the global downturn and being bold enough to pursue opportunities where others might give up.

“Entrepreneurs operate in the same economic environment as everyone else and yet they continue to innovate and prosper. They create new business models and they create jobs. There’s something to be learned in that and something to celebrate.''

Hooper said while the candidates came from diverse backgrounds the key thing that united them was a passion for their work. He said passion, above all else, was most likely the key ingredient to making it as an entrepreneur.

He also suggested it was nurture more than nature that played a role in the making of greatness.

Last year's global winner of the prestigious business award, Olivia Lum, Group CEO and president of Hyflux Limited, began life as an orphan in Singapore.

From her dream of wanting to make a US$1 million, Lum transformed a US$15,000 start-up into a US$450 million company which is a world leader is desalination systems.

New Zealand finalists profiled in video clips shown at the black tie event at the Langham Hotel in Auckland also made clear that creativity, focus and conviction were essential ingredients.

Finalist Doug Cleverly, of Argenta Services, admitted to a work routine that often had him rolling up his sleeves at 2 am. with a TimTam and a cup of tea, so he could balance the demands of career and family life.

Special award winners Sir Ray Avery (of Medicine Mondiale) and Sir Graeme Douglas (of Douglas Pharmaceuticals) encouraged Kiwi entrepreneurs who made it big to keep their business based on-shore where possible and not to succumb to the lure of selling out.

Category winners: 

Products; Dr Doug Cleverly, Argenta Services;

Simon Gault, The Nourish Group and Sous Chef

Technology; Sean Simpson, LanzaTech

Young; Victoria Ransom, Wildfire 

Master Entrepreneur;

Joint win: Bill Buckley, BSL - Buckley Systems Linda Jenkinson, LesConcierges

Commendation: Anthony Leighs. Leighs Construction

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The is a great success story.

He's the biggest buyer of steel from BHP in New Zealand. He employs 200+ engineers and exports a high tech product into a growing market.

These are the people we should be hero-worshipping.

cheers and many thanks to Amanda for going along to the EY awards last night and picking up on this.


And he has 80% of the global market share in his niche product - beyond great!  This is the kind of individual entrepreneur that Sir Paul Callaghan says we need only 100 more of - this kind of story should be front page news.

Great new story isn't it. cheers

Here's an interview Bill Buckley did this morning with Nadine Chalmers-Ross on AMP Business on TVNZ.



Spot on comment, Kate.

Compulsory viewing:

As you say, just 100 more of these entrepreneurs would catch us up to Aussie. Thinking it has to be about farming or tourism or mining, just misses the point. Entrepreneurship is where almost all the REAL wealth has come from in the world economy at least since the great growth surge started in about 1820.

More detail here on their website

We have the largest machine shop in New Zealand that is capable of manufacturing to extremely small tolerances. We specialise in 5 axis Laser Cutting, Lamination Pressing andBonding Equipment, Welding and Fabrication, Friction Stir Welding Licence and Wire Cutting.

Our Coil Manufacturing facilities are State of the Art and our Integration and Testingfacilities are second to none.

Yes- there are some wonderful success stories in the manufacturing sector – the real economy. With a government allocating infrastructure needs to NZcompanies, in stead of $- billions leaving the country, employment of the wider population in direction of technical skill, D & R, logistics, etc. would generate much more potential. But because of a “patchwork economy” created by the government, solid NZmanufacturing doesn’t happen.

This guy, William Fruth, should be compulsory reading for all local government councillors and bureaucrats:

Very important: every region needs industry of a type that brings money in to it, if it is to be able to pay its way for the stuff that it needs to "buy in", AND become more wealthy. "Status quo" does not cut it, either.

The lesson is that red carpet should be rolled out for certain types of industry - not obstacles, penalties, and disincentives.

OK if Gummy hitches up his hammock to this thread , and lounges around here all day  ?

..... this is heaven for me ...  Entrepreneurs , success , Kiwi . ... how often do we get to roll those words around in one article . .. the sweet smell of capitalism & innovation at it's finest ..

[ .. and not a single busy-body bureaucrat in sight ! .. no one  from the government  .. ]

Bliss !

Thank you Amanda. You know I need inspiration to keep at my enterprise and this helps:) 

but he uses finite resources up to make a profit so a big fail actually -  I mean thats what pdk,steven and Co would teach us surely .  Come on Warmists - whats your comments?

Quite correct, but in the context of an economy that thinks buying and selling houses to each other is productive, it is good to see.

We would really have to take a closer look at the end uses of his products, and the labour content versus the resource content.

Take a look at the 90@9 from Wednesday and see my link to USGS, where you can see the list of mineral reserves from a source without and agenda. Then come back to play.

 "...was built on the back of an idea, a vision and NZ$12,000 which he scratched together from friends and family."

I wonder whether this manages to make its way into the socialist fat between the ears...private investment...not state....private....get the message Goofy?

Nope not a hope...Labour have decided these successful Kiwi need to be taxed to death...the filthy rich...Labour targets...pinky Norman's targets too...

And Len Brown's "Super Council" has decided that top-down "plans" are the way to go......too bad for the bottom-up entrepreneur..... long had he worked for Fonterra again? ;-)

What's was he thinking? he should be investing in rental homes, not international IP ! ;-)

Good to see a sucessful enterprise which employs a good number of well skilled people. The E & Y awards initial critera is  based off revenue growth, there is a good number of NZ internet businesses with faster growth and similar turnover..yet employ only a handful of people and will be way more profitable. We need businesses like Buckly systems which buck this trend and can make a broader contribution even though a more problematic business model. Congrats is due... however I always find it some what sombering that a business like this stands out when you can find a fifty similar businesses in a business park in a small country like the Nertherlands. We have too few sucess stories, at least it is recongnition of enterprise!!

I'm not sure publicising this is at all a good idea.

Now Goff and the rest of the haters and wreckers will be frantically trying to find out ways to take the profits off him and shut the business down.

Nick, seriously they ALL do that! I'm all for reducing business taxes and removing welfare support from those that have never worked a day in their lives except the most unfortunate like invalids and the incapacitated.

National have removed the ability to do R & D for most businesses and call it a business expense for example, they made GST even more of a headache, they continue to pile on other business expense increases like ACC.

Both parties are killing real businesses in NZ while allowing property hoarding shams to continue   

What an inspiration! this awesome story gives me hope for the SME after all! And just when I thought that the likes of Goldman Sachs, IMF & The Fed had screwed the life out of entrepreneurial opportunities with there Globalisation debt slavery along comes this guy & sticks it to em! Go you good Kiwi go!

OOOPS! "their Globalisation" not "there Globalisation"

A message to Bill Buckley ---- I hope you live long ---but please make sure you plan for the day you cannot work.

In Canterbury is Tait Electronics Ltd----- which was founded by Sir Angus Tait, who is longer with us but has left a company, in good shape, that will not pass out of New Zealand unless it fails to make a profit.  Like your business it is a high tech company.

Angus Tait  left Tait Electronics --as a Trust --- I am sure that if you approach the current CEO of Tait's he will give you advice on what to do, to future proof your own company. 

We certainly do not need any more New Zealand technology companies being bought up and shifted off shore.

Keep up the good work Bill  !!!!!! 

You all are talking about past sucesses. The opportunities now are zero.

The general invester is an idiot and the so-called smart ones are looking for a quick buck off shore.

The real investments are bricks & mortar investments in NZ, that focus on environmental, clean energy & agriculture. Everything else is off shore controlled BS. This Gov't has already stated in writing it will revive the economy WITHOUT funding innovation.

Any R&D/ innovation it showcases is just the Gov't paying itself to develop their own projects through JV, Shareholdings etc. At best they give funds to big business that don't desere it.

I have struggeled with this stupid mentality for many years and I KNOW the lies and foolishness of the financial sector and gov't.

I have designed & developed, prototyped and precommercialised the solution to environmental contamination from dairy effluent and had that confirmed by third parties as a fact. We provide the only solution that actually allows the farmer to PROFIT from being environmentally compliant.

But because it is my patent and project that Innovation parks and accountants and financial angels etc. cannot control, I cannot get financial support to commercialise.The benifits to ALL stakeholders are excellent and the need is huge and yet the mentality of a quick buck and power to control kills the relisation of a massive solution to a cronic problem.

I suggest you stop trying to play the international big-shot and get back to basics . Help 'At- home investments' in needed 'bricks and mortar' projects, that positively affect our primary sectors and do some good for everyone involved.

BUT; Can you put down your selfishness and think about the overall gains?


Roy - you put your shitty gumboot on the problem.

Too many trying to 'make money' not doing anything, and hoping that 'growth' will carry them (inflate their debts away, cheapen their future purchases).

That is over now.

I've been down the patent line too, but you can't defend unless you have backing. Best to hit the market early, sell up quick, and use your brain on the next one. We used to pour coloured epoxy over our circuit-boards - a cheap initial patent. Those who worked out what it did from the outside, could probably design their own anyway, and with luck, would be real productive people, not parasites like Key etc, feeding off the conveyor-belt but not putting anything in.

Good luck to you. Get in touch with Casual Observer here (via Bernard) - no prizes for guessing who he is - ff spinmeister - but sooner or later, they'll have to raise their game, and although he's fighting a losing game (there is never a need for spinmeisters otherwise) he'd be a good point of contact.