IT expert wins Eisenhower fellowship

Wil McLellan

US Chargé d’Affaires Marie Damour has named a Christchurch businessman an Eisenhower Fellow at an Independence Day reception last night.

Wil McLellan is director of the EPIC Innovation Centre that was constructed in central Christchurch soon after the 2011 earthquakes to house like-minded businesses.

BNZ put up most of the money for the building, the city council provided the land rent free for five years, and the government also provided funding.

Mr McLellan was one of three directors at the forefront of the project. The others were Colin Anderson and Shaun Ryan.

He was selected from several applicants and will travel to the US in September to participate in the seven-week 2014 Eisenhower Innovation Program.

He will meet experts and business leaders to discuss entrepreneurship, trade and investment.

The fellowship also recognises Mr McLellan’s project - 100 Heroes Innovation Bridge - which aims to link New Zealand innovators with US businesses.

The programme would create a pool of 100 expert business mentors to help companies in both countries develop joint ventures, and provide access to funding.

Previous New Zealand Eisenhower recipients include: Paul Tapsell, Dean of the School of Maori, Pacific and Indigenous Studies at the University of Otago; Trevor Taylor, chief executive of Outward Bound; and Paula Bennett, Minister for Social Development, Youth Affairs and Employment.

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