NZ women shaking up the SME space

12th October, 2016

NZ women are increasingly taking control of their own destiny and jumping into the small business space with both feet.

The latest MYOB Women in Business survey found that women make up 44 percent of SME owners – up from 30 percent in 2012.

Wanting to control their own destiny was the top reason NZ women started businesses, followed by a desire to work in a field they were passionate about, with flexibility also ranking highly.

“It is really positive to see so many great women-owned businesses doing such great things in our economy,” said MYOB Head of SME Ingrid Cronin-Knight.

“The number of women in business is really starting to climb. We’re seeing a lot more women bringing dynamic and innovative new products and services to market.”

The findings were released to coincide with the Women of Influence Forum and Awards, which both celebrate the successes of women in New Zealand.

Cronin-Knight also said a lift in background economic conditions was crucial to lifting the number of women starting their own businesses in the period since 2012.

When asked about the performance of their own business, women owners reported significant gains in revenue in the last year – and the hopes for the future are high.

The Business Monitor survey showed 40 percent of women at the helm of local businesses expect the domestic economy to improve within the 12 months to September 2017, just below the SME average of 42 percent.

Finding work-life balance

Finding a healthy work/life balance while running a business appears to be improving across the board, with women marginally more satisfied than men (72 per cent compared to 71 per cent).

“Women do have added pressures including managing their personal, family and work priorities which can be stressful,” said Cronin-Knight.

“However, women are clearly taking the initiative to create a positive work/life balance, which is heartening to see. The percentage of female business owners satisfied with the balance between their personal and professional life has increased in the past 12 months,  up eight percentage points from 64 per cent in August 2015 to 72 per cent today.

 “Based on this data, we’re seeing an increased level of participation from women in business ownership. Not only is this great news for the economy, it’s also something that New Zealand should be proud of. We can only hope these numbers continue to increase over years to come and to do so we need to ensure women feel supported by the Government and the business sector.”

Christchurch women lead the way

In other findings, the monitor indicated that Christchurch businesses led by women were leading the way when it came to revenue performance, with 39 percent of businesses reporting an increase.

This compares with the broader SME average of 31 percent, and represents a major uplift over the previous year when just 21 percent of female-led businesses reported an increase in revenue from the previous 12 months.

“It’s great to see women achieving so much for the New Zealand economy,” said Cronin-Knight, “and it’s exciting that they’re positioning themselves in such a way that they can take advantage of future opportunities and growth in the local market.”