Our research themes
Our research themes explore gender, entrepreneurship, and enterprising women. We draw from international research to explore areas of contemporary relevance for academia, policy and entrepreneurial ecosystems in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Gender and social entrepreneurship
Gender and entrepreneurship scholars have highlighted how White heroic male entrepreneurial stereotypes continue to undermine the legitimacy of other types of entrepreneur. This research explores the barriers and challenges experienced by women social entrepreneurs in Aotearoa New Zealand and how they have addressed these to assert the legitimacy and authenticity of their entrepreneurial lives.
Entrepreneurship education: girls and women
This research seeks to explore entrepreneurship education for women and girls, informed by Te Ao Māori. Research programmes are being developed by Dr Kerry Lee and Dr Persephone de Magdalene, focused on the benefits of entrepreneurial mindset development, and entrepreneurship education in prisons. This theme aligns with work undertaken within the University of Auckland’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
Enterprising women and entrepreneurial finance
Continuing her research in the area of gender, women and entrepreneurial finance, Dr Janine Swail will work with Coralus (formerly SheEO), a platform providing entrepreneurial finance to both women and non-binary people. Coralus presents a novel research context to investigate how we ‘do entrepreneurship’ and how we engage with entrepreneurial finance as a society.
Ngā wāhine kaipakihi – Māori women in enterprise
In line with our purpose to build knowledge about and support for entrepreneurial women, our key research focus are the specific barriers faced by wāhine Māori entrepreneurs. Three questions guide our research agenda: How do these barriers differ from those experienced by Pākehā women, and Māori men? From a Te Ao Māori perspective, what does a successful entrepreneurial journey look like for wāhine Māori? And, what is the role of the whānau/family in the entrepreneurial journey of wāhine Māori?
Enterprising women in small and medium enterprises / family businesses
Women in small and medium enterprises (SMEs)
One of the key challenges facing Aotearoa New Zealand is how to grow existing businesses to provide increased employment and improved productivity. This challenge is particularly pertinent for women-led businesses at all stages of business growth lifecycles. One area of particular focus is SME exporters.
New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) has recently appointed a Women in Export Lead, tasked with creating a programme to inspire and support more women to internationalise their businesses. In preparation, NZTE has begun analysing the portfolio of companies it supports to better understand women’s representation in both senior leadership and final decision-making roles. It is also researching the barriers that may hamper women’s efforts to internationalise or to scale-up their export businesses. Initial results suggests that only 25% of women-led export businesses turnover more than $3 million a year, compared to almost double that rate for men. Professor Woods will be working with the NZTE Women in Export Lead to explore potential research outputs emerging from the data, for both policy and practice applications.
Women in family businesses
Whānau/family business is not a recent phenomenon. The foundations of Aotearoa New Zealand’s contemporary economy are built on successful family businesses: Watties, Fletcher Building, Barfoot and Thompson, Sleepyhead, and Michael Hill to name a few. The flourishing Māori economy is similarly built on the successes of whānau and hapu innovators and traders from the time of colonial settlement. While family businesses have dominated the global economic scene for a significant period, comprising approximately 70% of businesses worldwide and 60% of firms in Aotearoa New Zealand, it is only this century that research on women’s contribution to family businesses has gained traction. The initial research will focus on the challenges and opportunities women experience in small/medium-sized family businesses.
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