Schools mean business
Encouraging youngsters to become future business leaders is Tony Falkenstein’s goal.
The entrepreneur, recently inducted into the Fairfax Media Business Hall of Fame, believes studying business at school could set more New Zealanders on the path to success.
“If kids could learn about business earlier they could be better graduates and entrepreneurs.”
He says children from low decile schools are even more likely to succeed than their rich counterparts, because they know what it’s like to struggle.
After graduating from Onehunga High School, Mr Falkenstein studied accounting but realised his talents lay in marketing. Now the owner and chief executive of several companies, he gave his old school a $300,000 donation to set up a business school in 2003.
“If we can teach business skills early, that’s the path to economic prosperity,” he says.
“In New Zealand young people just don’t have financial skills. Financial literacy has been dumbed down and teachers see business as a necessary evil.”
Last year, Mr Falkenstein took 15 students from the business school to New York to take part in a case study.
“They dominated the case study. It made them realise they were better than other kids.”
Mr Falkenstein was one of eight new members inducted into the Fairfax Media Business Hall of Fame and says he was “staggered” by the award.
The Business Hall of Fame was launched in 1994 by the Enterprise New Zealand Trust.
Leading light: Entrepreneur Tony Falkenstein is now a member of the Business Hall of Fame.