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Spark launches Aotearoa's first AI for Business Mini MBA
Wed, 6th Mar 2024

New Zealand businesses are being offered the opportunity to join the first AI for Business Mini MBA programme in the country, which aims to enhance their competitive edge with applications of artificial intelligence (AI). This intensive four-week course has been established by Spark, with 150 sponsored places available for Spark business customers and other national business leaders.

The programme, run in collaboration with Section, a top business education platform founded by NYU Stern Professor Scott Galloway, provides an unmatched chance for learning from global AI specialists. This is the inaugural country-specific cohort offered by Section's Mini MBAs, and it will operate on New Zealand time.

The CEO of Spark, Jolie Hodson, confirmed that participants would gain a strategic comprehension of AI and develop a tailored business plan to tap into the surging sector. She made clear that the initiative is part of a broader Spark programme designed to help "accelerate New Zealand businesses one technology generation forward."

According to a recent report by Spark and NZIER, they found out that AI has the potential to deliver exceptional gains in productivity beyond labour alone. Hodson cited, "a 20% uplift delivering up to $26 billion in industry output over the next decade, and GDP as much as 2.08% per year."

Despite the evident potential, it is estimated that 44% of New Zealand businesses feel inadequately informed about AI. There is a significant digital technology gap in terms of generative AI, which could be a major productivity booster for all sectors. The application of AI goes beyond merely improving efficiency of existing processes or eliminating low-value tasks; it encompasses more sophisticated use-cases such as automated road inspections, hazard detection, and environmental health monitoring.

The New Zealand AI for Business Mini MBA is headed by Section CEO Greg Shove, also known as the founder of new AI lab, Machine&Partners, and a former senior leader at Apple. Shove stated, "Every leader should be thinking about their organisation's AI strategy and how to get their employees into 'the AI class this year'." He went on to express his excitement over delivering the programme to their first country-specific cohort in May.

Participants would benefit from an eight-month Section membership, which includes access to over 100 strategies from leading global business figures, and video lessons spanning AI, business, marketing, and product. Last year's participants included professionals from global companies like Heineken, Salesforce, Google, American Express, Microsoft, and IBM.

The course for New Zealand businesses begins on 8 May 2024 and is a keystone in Spark's longstanding effort to offer business customers both local and global insights via Spark Lab.