Mixed response to report's claim

KELSEY WILKIE
Last updated 12:00 22/07/2014
lash
INNOVATOR: Lash lady creator and owner Juanita Shields.

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A report that claims the number of female entrepreneurs in New Zealand is stagnating has been met with a mixed response from Manawatu businesswomen.

A survey released by global workplace provider Regus this month revealed 93 per cent of respondents believe there has not been an increase in female entrepreneurs in New Zealand in the past five years.

The research canvassed the views of more than 19,000 business people and owners in 98 countries but one successful female entrepreneur who did not agree was Black Sheep Design owner Stacey Cottrill.

"There's always been a feeling with the people I talk to in my circle of networks that there's plenty of entrepreneurship going on and being fostered by women," she said.

"There are plenty of entrepreneurial opportunities and people are picking them up; it's not gender specific."

She said about 15 years ago there were more males looking at implementing innovative ideas but now there were many female graduates eager to take on business challenges.

Dave Craig, organiser of the Manawatu start-up business competition Innovate, said in the competition's four years there had never been a noticeable difference between the amount of male and female entrants.

But Juanita Shields, who was a finalist in the competition last year, noted there were only two females in the top 10.

Shields said there did appear to be a lack of women with corporate business ideas prepared to turn them into a reality.

"There is a shortage of women taking more of a risk.

"It's confidence . . . you have to have a lot of guts to do it.

"My confidence only kicked in two years ago when my kids were at school."

Shields' tool to help with eyelash extension application has been gaining interest from the beauty industry.

She is now looking at hiring staff and creating other products for the market.

Regus New Zealand manager Nick Bradshaw said that businesses should be promoting all types of entrepreneurialism, particularly among women, in order to help turn things around and also to foster innovation in the marketplace.

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- Manawatu Standard

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