Growing number of businesses owned and operated by women

13 May 2013

New Zealand currently has more women than ever in business and they are having a significant impact on the economy – earning more and employing more staff.

According to the latest MYOB Business Monitor, a survey of over 1,000+ SMEs, 41% of small and medium businesses in New Zealand are owned and operated by women.

MYOB national manager, enterprise division, Allison Fairkettle, says although females are still outnumbered by men in terms of business ownership, the increase of women in business is incredibly positive.

“Three years ago, only 37% of SMEs were owned by women, so it’s great to see that a growing number of women are running their own businesses.

“Not only are they paving the way for more females to do the same but they are also having a positive impact on the wider economy,” says Mrs Fairkettle.

The Business Monitor highlighted that on average, females employ more staff than males — 33% of females have one or more employees, while only 29% of males do the same.

“This is fantastic news for local job seekers,” says Mrs Fairkettle. “Although numbers have been rising recently, New Zealand’s current job market can benefit from more women in business who, according to our survey, are more likely to employ staff.”

Examining where women choose to run their businesses, the Business Monitor revealed that rural New Zealand has a strong appeal for women, with 25% of females in business working in rural areas compared to only 19% of male business operators.

Due to the rebuild, Christchurch has become the engine room of the country’s economy and is the main centre with the smallest gender gap for SME operators.

“41% of Christchurch SMEs are owned and operated by females, compared to 39% in Auckland and 37% in Wellington.

“Last year, the Business Monitor revealed that businesswomen in Christchurch were disproportionately affected by the earthquakes reporting a higher revenue loss than males and lower levels of optimism.

“Despite the challenges of the earthquakes, its great to see so many women in Christchurch still owning, running and starting new businesses,” says Mrs Fairkettle.

Some regional areas show even stronger representation of women in business, with 57% of businesses in the Waikato owned by women, 51% in Northland, and 50% in the Bay of Plenty. In Manawatu-Wanganui, however, just 19% of SMEs are owned by women.

In addition to a growing representation of women among business owners, the Business Monitor highlighted that women are now earning just as much, if not more, than men in business.

A higher number of women are reporting higher revenue gains in the Business Monitor (33%) than men (31%), while fewer are reporting losses (25% of women in business compared to 29% of men).

“The Monitor also indicates that a higher percentage of businesses operated by females earn more than $200,000 a year,” says Mrs Fairkettle.

“This is despite the fact that on average female business owners work 5.5 hours a week less than males – an indication perhaps that women are finding ways to work smarter in their business.

“Overall, it’s inspiring to see that more women are establishing their own highly successful businesses and that they are having a positive impact on the local economy by doing so.”


For further information or immediate comment, please contact:

Kristy Sheppard


Tel: 09 925 3560

Mob: +61 407 450 860


Gerard Blank

The Agency Communications Limited

Tel: 03 341 5841

Mob: 0275 243 629


About MYOB New Zealand

Established in 1991, MYOB is New Zealand's largest business management solutions provider. It makes life easier for approx. 1.2 million businesses across New Zealand and Australia, by simplifying accounting, payroll, tax, practice management, CRM, websites, job costing, inventory and more. MYOB provides ongoing support via many client service channels including a network of over 40,000 accountants, bookkeepers and other consultants. It is committed to ongoing innovation, particularly in cloud computing solutions, and now spends more than NZ$35 million annually on research and development. In 2013, MYOB expanded its offerings with the acquisition of accounting solutions provider BankLink. For more information, visit

About the MYOB business monitor

The MYOB Business Monitor is a national survey of 1,000+ New Zealand small and medium business owners and managers, from sole traders to mid-sized companies, representing the major industry sectors. It has run since 2009, commissioned to independent market research firm Colmar Brunton. This most recent survey ran late January/early February 2013. The Monitor researches business performance and attitudes in areas such as profitability, cash flow, pipeline, technology usage and the government. The weighting of respondents by both geographical location and sector is based on overall market proportions as established by Statistics New Zealand and is drawn from an independent survey group, which includes both MYOB clients and non-clients.