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Feb. 12, 2021

Strengthening Entrepreneurial Ecosystems and Building Bridges with Diversity — Edmund Hillary Fellowship's Yoseph Ayele

Edmund Hillary Fellowship co-founder and CEO Yoseph Ayele joins us to discuss how his immigrant reform, establishing New Zealand as a base of operations for skilled and willing ex-pats like him to change the world.

Yoseph Ayele is an entrepreneur who, for almost seven years, has been building the Edmund Hillary Fellowship and the Global Impact Visa -- an immigration program and a fellowship community combined together to catalyze positive change from Aotearoa (New Zealand).

Yoseph joins us to discuss how his own lousy experience as an aspiring legal immigrant to the United States galvanized a movement for systematic reform and established New Zealand as a base of operations for skilled ex-pats like him to change the world.



  • Who is Yoseph Ayele, and how did his frustrations as an aspiring legal immigrant to the United States pave the way for New Zealand's Global Impact Visa? [00:00]
  • Where did Yoseph's journey as an entrepreneur begin, how did his dreams of living in the United States falter (in spite of being a Harvard graduate with a Silicon Valley job), and what made him set his sights on New Zealand as the home where he now hangs his hat? [02:25]
  • How did young Yoseph's parents foster an environment for exploration and learning? [10:12]
  • What inspired Yoseph's comparison of the value of diversity to the health of a thriving ecosystem? [12:16]
  • How does Yoseph practically apply the principles of an ecosystem to a business (even when one of those principles might be what Steve Jobs called "life's change agent": death)? [15:37]
  • What was Yoseph's point of entry when he decided upon New Zealand as the next chapter in his journey, and what convinced him that doing things the "number eight wire" way was better than the Silicon Valley approach with which he was already familiar? [19:49]
  • Examples of what "number eight wire" looks like applied to the real world of New Zealand entrepreneurship. [22:58]
  • Why does Yoseph believe New Zealand fosters such a strong spirit of scrappy resourcefulness? [25:19]
  • Yoseph explains how his team's networking efforts expanded into what he refers to as ecosystem bridges -- bringing in new talent from overseas and recapturing talent from over a million expatriated New Zealanders. [27:15]
  • How does Yoseph propose selling the upsides of immigration and diversity to communities that may be set in their ways and fearful of change -- even when that change is positive? [30:52]
  • How did the Global Impact Visa go from idea to law in the breakneck policy pace of 12 months, and how did working with the New Zealand government differ from that of comparable bureaucracy in the United States? [34:03]
  • Since the most innovative candidates for immigration don't always look impressive on paper, and aspirants who appear promising at first glance may only excel at filling out applications, what did Yoseph's team do to ensure quality control without falling into the checkboxes trap he'd encountered in the United States? [40:04]
  • Yoseph points out that being an immigrant is one of the most entrepreneurial-spirited endeavors a human being can take on. How the success of the Global Impact Visa led to what became the community-building Edmund Hillary Fellowship. [42:59]
  • How many applicants has EHF had in the past four years, and how many have been accepted? What are the markers that indicate a good fit during the selection process? [46:01]
  • What fruits have formed after four years of labor, and what does Yoseph hope to see for EHF's next four years and beyond -- for its fellows and community? [48:59]
  • How can EHF work to preserve the values that make New Zealand society so appealing and unique while simultaneously reaping the benefits of recruiting outside thinking? [51:58]
  • Immigration as diplomacy: what the rest of the world can learn from these efforts. [55:11]
  • Why does Yoseph believe New Zealand has been so successful in tackling COVID compared to how it's been handled virtually everywhere else? Will the country's tempered judgment and good fortune prevail when faced with future catastrophes? [58:56]
  • Parting thoughts, and what listeners interested in emigrating to New Zealand can do to begin their own journey. [1:01:35]