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Leading New Zealand into top ranked position for female founder graduates

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A recent study has found that New Zealand has the world’s highest percentage of female graduates who found start-ups, at 13.4%. Of these 13.4%, almost half are from the University of Auckland.

The results were found by business banking app Tide. Their Pioneering Women study analysed data from Crunchbase for companies that had raised at least US$1 million. The sums involved indicate that founders identified in the study are generating substantial enterprises. Of the 79,140 founders 6,940 had female founders.

In explaining why the University of Auckland has rated so highly, it is important to analyse data within the context of New Zealand being a relatively progressive country with a long history of active participation from women in society and business. Last year New Zealand ranked in the top 5 countries for women entrepreneurs in Mastercard’s Index of Women Entrepreneurs.

The University of Auckland has also long played a pivotal role in entrepreneurship in New Zealand through success in areas such as its commercialisation company UniServices, founded in 1988. A recent survey found that more than a quarter of University of Auckland alumni have founded a business, and that the survival and growth rates of these far exceeds the New Zealand average.

Tide’s CEO Oliver Prill says “From the data we can see that there are still more men than women starting their own businesses – however this trend is beginning to shift. The longstanding imbalance between men and women pioneers over previous generations brings with it a range of further issues for women looking to start up their own companies. One of these issues is a lack of female role models and mentors, making it difficult for women to pick up crucial knowledge and guidance. Universities around the world seem to be attempting to address this by providing targeted communities for women, often through support, mentorship programmes and workshops”.

Oliver’s insights are substantiated by the equity working taking place at the University of Auckland. The Business School’s Women’s Mentoring programme is now in its ninth year with hundreds of students and business leaders having taken part in the programme. Back in 2015, women represented 23% of participants in programmes delivered by the Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. In designing the growth of the Centre’s activities Director Wendy Kerr actively sought to increase participation of women through role modelling with communication campaigns, actively recruiting more women volunteers as mentors and speakers and initiating social innovation programmes proven to appeal to women. Women now represent 52% of participants in programmes delivered by the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Wendy says “It’s great that New Zealand tops the charts but at 13.4% we have a long way to go. New Zealand women make up over 50% of the population yet female-owned businesses only make up a third of all New Zealand businesses. Women are New Zealand’s largest minority. We’ll continue to do our part to enable all our students, including women, to build the networks, confidence and knowledge necessary to unleash potential”.

James Hutchinson

Students at Unleash Space, the University of Auckland’s maker space and innovation hub

James Hutchinson

Students at Unleash Space, the University of Auckland’s maker space and innovation hub

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A recent study has found that New Zealand has the world’s highest percentage of female graduates who found start-ups, at 13.4%. Of these 13.4%, almost half are from the University of Auckland.

The results were found by business banking app Tide. Their Pioneering Women study analysed data from Crunchbase for companies that had raised at least US$1 million. The sums involved indicate that founders identified in the study are generating substantial enterprises. Of the 79,140 founders 6,940 had female founders.

In explaining why the University of Auckland has rated so highly, it is important to analyse data within the context of New Zealand being a relatively progressive country with a long history of active participation from women in society and business. Last year New Zealand ranked in the top 5 countries for women entrepreneurs in Mastercard’s Index of Women Entrepreneurs.

The University of Auckland has also long played a pivotal role in entrepreneurship in New Zealand through success in areas such as its commercialisation company UniServices, founded in 1988. A recent survey found that more than a quarter of University of Auckland alumni have founded a business, and that the survival and growth rates of these far exceeds the New Zealand average.

Tide’s CEO Oliver Prill says “From the data we can see that there are still more men than women starting their own businesses – however this trend is beginning to shift. The longstanding imbalance between men and women pioneers over previous generations brings with it a range of further issues for women looking to start up their own companies. One of these issues is a lack of female role models and mentors, making it difficult for women to pick up crucial knowledge and guidance. Universities around the world seem to be attempting to address this by providing targeted communities for women, often through support, mentorship programmes and workshops”.

Oliver’s insights are substantiated by the equity working taking place at the University of Auckland. The Business School’s Women’s Mentoring programme is now in its ninth year with hundreds of students and business leaders having taken part in the programme. Back in 2015, women represented 23% of participants in programmes delivered by the Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. In designing the growth of the Centre’s activities Director Wendy Kerr actively sought to increase participation of women through role modelling with communication campaigns, actively recruiting more women volunteers as mentors and speakers and initiating social innovation programmes proven to appeal to women. Women now represent 52% of participants in programmes delivered by the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Wendy says “It’s great that New Zealand tops the charts but at 13.4% we have a long way to go. New Zealand women make up over 50% of the population yet female-owned businesses only make up a third of all New Zealand businesses. Women are New Zealand’s largest minority. We’ll continue to do our part to enable all our students, including women, to build the networks, confidence and knowledge necessary to unleash potential”.


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