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Welcome to the ACEW Newsletter

Chris Woods


Kia ora koutou | Hello, everyone

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Chris Woods, and I am the Theresa Gattung Chair for Women in Entrepreneurship. Welcome to the long-form introduction of the Aotearoa Centre for Enterprising Women’s first-ever newsletter. In these quarterly newsletters, I will keep you posted on what has been happening at the Centre and our plans.

The Centre was officially launched in October. Earlier in the year I was fortunate to travel to London, New York and San Francisco and met some amazing entrepreneurial women. Their insights and experience contributed to the Centre’s development. We aim to develop research and teaching focused on helping girls and women reach their entrepreneurial potential. When we launched, the timing could not have been better, given our first event was focused on celebrating the Women’s Rugby World Cup.

Co-hosting with NZ Trade and Enterprise (NZTE), we held Ambitious Leaders Making Their Mark. This event bought together rugby players and women entrepreneurs to discuss their journeys. Links to all the presentations are here.

All funds raised from the tickets went to support women wheelchair rugby. If you would like to know more about the history of women’s rugby, Vicky Dombroski’s story is well worth watching. She is the only woman to be the head coach of a New Zealand women’s rugby team, was instrumental in establishing the women’s game, and had a hand in naming the Black Ferns.

Additionally, if you want to learn about wheelchair rugby, Amanda Lowry talked about her journey as a para-swimmer and wheelchair rugby player.

We also held another event which had an international focus. We convened a roundtable discussion on women and social entrepreneurship as part of the Global Women’s Policy Round Table series. We featured two panellists from the Centre: Dr Persephone de Magdalene and Dr Kiri Dell, as well as myself as moderator.

We were also joined by Professor Jo Barraket (University of Melbourne) and Professor Collette Henry (Dundalk Institute of Technology, Ireland) for a great discussion that explored perspectives on gender, policy, and social entrepreneurship. My thanks to Professor Anne de Bruin, who initiated this opportunity. Anne is an Adjunct Professor at the Centre, and brings with her a wealth of research experience and international networks.

As the Director of the Centre, I am also exploring opportunities for engaging with students. Quarter Four (October/November 2022) saw the first delivery of an MBA course focused on Women and Entrepreneurship. Other than having a room full of great students (in person!), highlights included guest speakers Zarina Bazoeva, CEO of a deep tech start-up, and Mel Spencer, CEO of Socialites. Students appreciated both women sharing their everyday experiences of being an entrepreneur and the challenges and opportunities they engage with.

At an undergraduate level, we will soon be offering INNOVENT 310: Women and Entrepreneurship, for any Stage III student at the University. The course will provide opportunities to engage with successful women entrepreneurs and develop an enterprise opportunity either with an existing entrepreneur or from an original student idea.


 On the Horizon

Heading into the summer, we have a major piece of research underway with NZTE, focused on women led exporters. This research investigates how to facilitate an increase in women-led export initiatives, to tap into the vast unrealised capabilities of women export entrepreneurs.

Twenty interviews were completed with various entrepreneurial women exporters at different stages of their business journey from intention through to start-up, and then scale-up. They shared insights into their export journey, from export motivations to finding customers, opportunities, and barriers in raising venture capital for export growth. Several challenges were identified, and perhaps most pertinent to the report are their perceptions of the role of gender in export entrepreneurship. The report will be completed for publication in February 2023

Before then, here is one of the graphics we have pulled together:

Women Exporters: Problems and Symptoms



Also coming up is a call for papers for a special issue in The International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship titled Gender and Social Entrepreneurship: Building Cumulative Knowledge. The special issue will be co-edited by Professors Anne de Bruin, Robin Eversole (Bucknell University, USA), and myself. This call closes on the 3rd of March, 2023, and details can be found here.

And finally, my thanks again to Theresa Gattung and the Chau Hoi Shuen Foundation for their generous funding of the Centre and our research and teaching.

All the best for the holiday season,

Professor Christine Woods,

Theresa Gattung Chair in Women in Entrepreneurship


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