Entrepreneurship is the process of recognising and starting a business venture, finding and organising the required resources and taking both the risks and rewards related with the venture.
There are different types of entrepreneurs all around the world. In this presentation I will focus on New Zealand entrepreneur Alan John “Hackett” who popularised the extreme sport of bungee jumping in New Zealand and around the world.
He is a good example for that entrepreneurship is associated with taking risks and working hard for a vision. It is not always easy and there are many obstacles along the way but Alan showed that if you have a dream no hurdles are impossible to climb. He is the man that launched the global tourism empire of Bungee Jumping.
Alan John "A. J." Hackett was born in 1958 grew up on Auckland's North Shore. He attended Westlake Boys High School, but left at the age of sixteen and served an apprenticeship as a carpenter. At this time, he took up snowboarding and skiing. In 1986, Hackett performed his first amateur bungee jump from the Upper Harbour Bridge in Auckland, citing it as "one of the most riveting experiences of my life." (Hackett, 2014)
Inspired by the Vanuatu ritual called land diving and the Oxford University Dangerous Sports Club experimental jumps in the 1970s, Hackett developed a super-stretchy elastic bungee cord in the mid-1980s and demonstrated its use by throwing himself off the Eiffel Tower in Paris in 1987.
He was observing the Eiffel Tower for month to see how easy it was to distract guards and when it was the best time to do the big jump. “It would have been easier to ask for forgiveness than permission” (Hackett, 2007) Alan snuck up the Eiffel tower and slept there overnight, and then first thing in the morning he jumped down off the tower. He was immediately arrested. The Jump made international headlines and the bungee phenomenon had begun.
Hackett launched his own company, AJ Hackett International, and created a site on the Kawarau Gorge Suspension Bridge in Queenstown, New Zealand in 1988 to become the world's first commercial public bungee. He later expanded his company by founding bungee sites in Australia, France Germany, The United States, Mexico, Indonesia, and Macau.
Highlights in his entrepreneurial career
• 1987: Jumping from the Eiffel Tower in Paris to gain global awareness of his invention
• 1990: Jumping 380 metres out of a helicopter for the first time
• 1991: AJ Hackett Bungee Queenstown received the highest accolade for NZ tourism operators, the New Zealand Tourism Award for Excellence
• 1992: AJ received the prestigious Sir Jack Newman Award for his individual contribution to tourism in NZ
• 2000: Jumping off the Royal Gorge Bridge, also known as the highest suspension bridge in the world
• 2006: Opening and jumping out of the Macau Tower in China measuring 233 metres above ground and holding the title as the highest sky jump