Owner Manager Programme

Learn the successful formula for growth by developing new skills, challenging perspectives, and putting in place progressive plans for you and your business.

Benefit from the best in academic teaching and practical learning to develop a unique experience which has a huge and immediate impact. Real skills. New opportunities. Better results.

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What will I get?


Better Awareness Of What Drives Business Growth


New Business Growth Plan, Critiqued By Experts


A Strong Network Of Successful Owner Managers

The Owner Manager Programme is a residential programme specially created for high calibre business owners in businesses with more than 15 full-time employees and $3M+ in revenue who want to develop a better awareness of what drives business growth, and understand how analysis and fine-tuning can solve business problems.


In 5, three-day blocks of learning over five-months (with a follow-up implementation workshop three-months after the programme) you’ll get access to an unrivalled network of experts, facilitators and other leaders who have been in the position you’re in now. The sessions will help you explore new ideas around the spheres of fine-tuning, opportunity, platforms for growth and the future, through small and large group sessions, as well as one-on-one discussions, case studies, real-world examples and academic theory.

You’ll find out how to run your business better with immediate and relevant changes. You’ll get it performing more efficiently and productively, and future-proof your long-term plans with confidence and enhanced leadership. The Owner Manager Programme will also help find you ways to get a much better work/life balance through a new approach to mental and physical health.


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Gearing Up: Leading Your Kiwi Business into the Future is a completely revised and updated primer of business school wisdom, grounded in real Kiwi examples, for New Zealand’s owner-­manager businesses. 
Throughout, the authors focus – through real examples – on the opportunities and challenges faced by the Kiwi men and women running our owner-operated businesses.

It had been adopted and used as a strong supporting text in The Icehouse's development programmes, including the flagship Owner Manager Programme.

What will be covered in this programme?

Understand and implement strategies for 'Significant Growth'
Explore leverage points for productivity and efficiency
Identify growth opportunities and ways to handle change
Learn how to manage growth transitions, capacity and resources
Rev_Icon_ORANGE_FINALReview the key fundamentals of running and growing a business
Gain confidence, motivation and enhanced leadership


The facilitators for the Owner Manager Programme, supported by an unrivalled group of presenters, together combine decades of experience, and their advice and knowledge have helped many of New Zealand’s most recognisable and prestigious businesses.

On each Owner Manager Programme, two facilitators guide the learning experience and provide a good mix of academic and practical expertise. Their common sense and business acumen is supported by specialist professionals, experienced entrepreneurs and business leaders who share their real life experiences in a flexible learning environment. Facilitators include:

Darl Kolb
BSc – Illinois State University
MA – University of Colorado
PhD – Cornell University
Professor, Graduate School of Management, The University of Auckland Business School.

Darl’s main research interest is inthe area of managing personaland organisational connectivityfor performance and well being. He has studied globally distributed project teams and the use (andover-use) of smartphones. Darl received his PhD from Cornell University. Prior to becoming an academic, Darl worked as an Outward Bound Instructor throughout Colorado, New Mexico, Texas and Alaska. Where possible, his teaching is still based on intensive experiential learning approaches. He has consulted with a variety of New Zealand and international organisations.


Liz Wotherspoon
BA – Bucknell University
Liz holds a B.A. in Psychology and Business from Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, USA.

Liz provides a broad range of consulting services to clients including facilitation, organisation design and structure, training, role and competency profiling, performance management, capability needs analysis, management coaching, and change management. As the Director of Growth and Coaching at The Icehouse, Liz leads the programmes that are focused on adding capability to established owner-managed businesses. Prior to joining The Icehouse, Liz was General Manager of Grafton Consulting. Liz has spent most of her career contributing to the success of her client companies through working with them to develop their most important asset - people.


Chris Woods
MA – The University of Auckland
PhD – The University of Auckland
Associate Professor, Department of Management, and International Business, The University of Auckland Business School Director, Coal Spud Group,
Life Fellow, Clare Hall, Cambridge, UK.

Kiwi born and bred, Chris’s interest in entrepreneurship and the small to medium business sector was sparked after working in Malawi as a small business advisor. Instead of catching malaria she caught the entrepreneur bug, becoming ‘hooked’ on the passion and energy that entrepreneurs bring to what they do. She currently teaches Entrepreneurship and Innovation and Maori Entrepreneurship in the Faculty of Business and Economics
at The University of Auckland. In 2003, Chris was instrumental, with the PostGraduate Students Association, in establishing Spark entrepreneurship challenge. She has been involved with The Icehouse business growth programmes since their inception in 2001. Her consultancy work is with SMEs and Family Businesses in strategy development, learning and business growth.


Deb Shepherd
BA – The University of Otago
MA (Honours) – The University of Auckland
PhD – The University of Auckland Senior Lecturer, Department of Management, and International Business, The University of Auckland Business School.
Founding Director, Coal Spud Group.

Deb is a senior lecturer in Management and International Business at The University of Auckland Business School. She is also a founding faculty member of The Icehouse growth programmes and has facilitated business growth programmes for SMEs since 2001. Her research and teaching focus is on entrepreneurial family business, entrepreneurial SMEs, the internationalisation of SMEs, entrepreneurship education, and social entrepreneurship. Deb consults to a number of businesses and sits on a number of advisory boards.

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