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Meet Professor Christine Woods – Chair for Women in Entrepreneurship

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22 February 2022

I began my entrepreneurship journey in the early nineties working in Malawi with women who ran their own businesses. These women were focused on providing for their families in very difficult and challenging circumstances. They were amazing – searching for opportunities to grow their business so they could educate their children and provide employment. I loved my time there and it was an amazing way to ‘catch entrepreneurship’!

I returned to Aotearoa and started a small business with my sister before returning to the University of Auckland to complete my PhD, exploring the entrepreneurial process with women who started their own business in Aotearoa. Feminist economics and Austrian entrepreneurship theory were the two key theoretical foundations of this research. 

At the same time as my PhD journey was finishing, two businessmen, David Irving and Geoff Whitcher, were looking to grow the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Auckland and explore the role that the University of Auckland Business School might play in that growth. David became the founding Chair of the ICEHOUSE with the Business School serving as a cornerstone partner. I was fortunate to be part of the development and facilitation of the first Owner Manager Programme in 2001 and am currently facilitating OMP 56. This programme works with successful men and women who are running small and medium sized businesses, many of these being intergenerational family businesses.

Geoff worked with the Business School, the students, staff and the wider business community to establish the University of Auckland Entrepreneurship Challenge and the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE). With colleagues, I facilitated Vision to Business (V2B) – an entrepreneurship education programme offered to students and staff that supported the challenge. One of my favourite memories was standing on the stage at the Town Hall, with just under 700 people in the audience, as we launched the first V2B session in 2003. Nearly 20 years later the programme has gone from strength to strength, drawing on the passion and energy of our amazing students and staff.

Since 2001, I have been teaching entrepreneurship to students at all levels of our academic programmes including undergraduate, postgraduate and MBA students. Working with SMEs and start-ups at the ICEHOUSE provides a great grounding for bringing practice and theory together in the University classroom. I am constantly reminded that there is ‘nothing so practical as a good theory.’ Informing my teaching is my research in the areas of entrepreneurship education, social entrepreneurship, Māori entrepreneurship and family business. Central to this research is my supervision of doctoral students. I have been privileged to work with some amazing scholars who are now leading entrepreneurship research here in Aotearoa, and globally.

In 2021, I was fortunate to be appointed as the Inaugural Theresa Gattung Chair for Women in Entrepreneurship. Funded by leading businessperson Theresa Gattung, this role offers an amazing opportunity to lead research and teaching focused on women in entrepreneurship. I will be establishing the Aotearoa Centre for Enterprising Women this year with a focus on creating opportunities for PhD and Post Doc research. In addition, I will be looking to engage with international scholars in the women in entrepreneurship space, with a view to bringing eminent academics to the Business School to share their research.

Going forward, I am very much looking forward to working with colleagues across the University and in the wider business community to engage and encourage the entrepreneurial potential of girls and women in Aotearoa.

University of Auckland wins international award for entrepreneurship education
University of Auckland wins international award for entrepreneurship education

social media

22 February 2022

I began my entrepreneurship journey in the early nineties working in Malawi with women who ran their own businesses. These women were focused on providing for their families in very difficult and challenging circumstances. They were amazing – searching for opportunities to grow their business so they could educate their children and provide employment. I loved my time there and it was an amazing way to ‘catch entrepreneurship’!

I returned to Aotearoa and started a small business with my sister before returning to the University of Auckland to complete my PhD, exploring the entrepreneurial process with women who started their own business in Aotearoa. Feminist economics and Austrian entrepreneurship theory were the two key theoretical foundations of this research. 

At the same time as my PhD journey was finishing, two businessmen, David Irving and Geoff Whitcher, were looking to grow the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Auckland and explore the role that the University of Auckland Business School might play in that growth. David became the founding Chair of the ICEHOUSE with the Business School serving as a cornerstone partner. I was fortunate to be part of the development and facilitation of the first Owner Manager Programme in 2001 and am currently facilitating OMP 56. This programme works with successful men and women who are running small and medium sized businesses, many of these being intergenerational family businesses.

Geoff worked with the Business School, the students, staff and the wider business community to establish the University of Auckland Entrepreneurship Challenge and the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE). With colleagues, I facilitated Vision to Business (V2B) – an entrepreneurship education programme offered to students and staff that supported the challenge. One of my favourite memories was standing on the stage at the Town Hall, with just under 700 people in the audience, as we launched the first V2B session in 2003. Nearly 20 years later the programme has gone from strength to strength, drawing on the passion and energy of our amazing students and staff.

Since 2001, I have been teaching entrepreneurship to students at all levels of our academic programmes including undergraduate, postgraduate and MBA students. Working with SMEs and start-ups at the ICEHOUSE provides a great grounding for bringing practice and theory together in the University classroom. I am constantly reminded that there is ‘nothing so practical as a good theory.’ Informing my teaching is my research in the areas of entrepreneurship education, social entrepreneurship, Māori entrepreneurship and family business. Central to this research is my supervision of doctoral students. I have been privileged to work with some amazing scholars who are now leading entrepreneurship research here in Aotearoa, and globally.

In 2021, I was fortunate to be appointed as the Inaugural Theresa Gattung Chair for Women in Entrepreneurship. Funded by leading businessperson Theresa Gattung, this role offers an amazing opportunity to lead research and teaching focused on women in entrepreneurship. I will be establishing the Aotearoa Centre for Enterprising Women this year with a focus on creating opportunities for PhD and Post Doc research. In addition, I will be looking to engage with international scholars in the women in entrepreneurship space, with a view to bringing eminent academics to the Business School to share their research.

Going forward, I am very much looking forward to working with colleagues across the University and in the wider business community to engage and encourage the entrepreneurial potential of girls and women in Aotearoa.


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