Many New Zealand companies are not ambitious enough or as “match fit” as they should be when competing internationally, according to Kea CEO Craig Donaldson.

Kea connects locally-based Kiwi businesses with successful New Zealanders living overseas who can help them break into new markets.

Donaldson, who took up the CEO job in 2014, says about 80 percent of big offshore companies have a New Zealander working somewhere in their ranks – which can help smooth the way for local companies.

“Americans are very good at using their alumni and we can do this too but at a national level.”

However, he says we need to be better prepared and more aggressive.

“We still talk about the beach, the bach and the BMW – compare that to the US firms, they are there to change the world – those ambition gaps are there and we need to change if we are going to be really competitive.”

In this video interview with Mark Jennings, Donaldson discusses the international business environment, the level of the New Zealand dollar and the winners of the World Class Kea Awards.

Among the big winners were choreographer Parris Goebel and Ian Wright, who was instrumental in setting up Tesla with Elon Musk.

Mark Jennings is co-editor of Newsroom.

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