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Maori Show Strong Entrepreneurial Streak - Survey

UNITEC's New Zealand Centre for Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Press Release

For Immediate Release

Survey Finds Maori Show Strong Entrepreneurial Streak And Extraordinary Business Confidence

Auckland, March 15, 2004 - Maori have once again proven themselves to be more entrepreneurial than the rest of the population, according to a key finding of the soon-to-be-released Unitec NZ Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) 2003/2004 report.

For the third year in a row, Maori exceeded non-Maori in the Total Entrepreneurial Activity stakes. Just over 17 per cent of the Maori population has attempted to start a business in the past three years as opposed to 13.3 per cent of non-Maori.

Maori entrepreneurs are more confident about their future business growth prospects than non-Maori entrepreneurs. The survey found that 80 per cent of Maori entrepreneurs were optimistic about business opportunities in the next six months compared to 61 per cent of non-Maori entrepreneurs.

This optimism is extraordinary compared to the 47 per cent rate for New Zealand as a whole and the 34 per cent rate for the GEM world in 2003, the GEM report said.

Globally, the Maori entrepreneurship rate surpasses all but three countries in the GEM sample. If Maori were their own country, it would rank as the fourth most entrepreneurial country in the world, behind Uganda, Venezuela and Argentina.

Maori are more likely to be necessity entrepreneurs (forced to start a business due to job loss or redundancy) than non-Maori or the global average. But many more Maori women (83 per cent) than men (30 per cent) identify themselves as opportunity entrepreneurs (spotting a business opportunity).

Maori women were found to be remarkably more entrepreneurial than non-Maori New Zealand women and the global GEM female. Female entrepreneurs account for 13 per cent of the general Maori population, compared to 8.7 per cent amongst non-Maori and 6.4 per cent of the GEM world. In other Unitec NZ GEM 2003-2004 findings, Maori entrepreneurs were shown to be innovators, exceeding non-Maori entrepreneurs in terms of perceiving that their products and/or services as new and unfamiliar to the market with limited competition. Maori entrepreneurs typically believe more than non-Maori that their technology or procedure is new and innovative.

Many more Maori than non-Maori run their businesses from home. The survey found 81.5 per cent of Maori surveyed worked at least 50 percent of the time from home compared to 64.9 per cent for non- Maori.

Although New Zealanders are amongst the least fearful of failure group of countries, Maori and non-Maori tend to have a much lower level of fear of failure compared to Chinese, Indians and Pacific Islanders.

Unitec NZ GEM 2003-2004 also examined ethnicity and cultural support for entrepreneurial activities and found that Maori perceive a higher-level of cultural support than other ethnic groups.

The full Unitec NZ GEM 2003-2004 report is due to be released on March 29.

About the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) Launched as a joint research project in 1999 by the London Business School and Babson College in the United States with 10 countries participating, GEM now covers 41 countries and is the largest survey of entrepreneurship undertaken in the world. New Zealand began participating in GEM in 2000. Unitec NZ GEM 2003- 2004 surveyed 2000 New Zealand adults and interviewed 100 experts including government, academic and industry leaders.

About the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) CIE facilitates the implementation of cutting-edge research and forward thinking entrepreneurship education with the objective of turning innovation into sustainable commercial reality for New Zealands small and medium enterprises and the corporate community.


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