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Scheme To Help Maori Women Become Self-Employed

New Scheme To Help Maori Women Become Self-Employed Aimed At Reducing Inequities

Associate Maori Affairs Minister Sandra Lee said the Te Ara Kaipakihi scheme launched today at Parliament underlined the Labour-Alliance coalition's support for new initiatives to help people become self-employed.

"Maori women will welcome the one-stop-shop access this initiative provides to the information they need from government agencies to develop their own businesses," she said. "Some 42 percent of all New Zealanders work in small and medium enterprises which are a critical element of our economy."

Ms Lee said while women were entering self-employment much faster than men in the United States, the same trend had not yet surfaced in New Zealand.

She said the government's jobs machine, Industry New Zealand, had found that only around 44 percent of applicants seeking Enterprise Awards grants were women.

But she said it was a matter of concern that so far only 8 percent of applicants had identified themselves as Maori.

The Enterprise Awards programme offered self-employed people up to $20,000 to develop commercial projects.

Ms Lee said Maori women were significantly under-represented amongst the self-employed, with the December 2000 Household Labour Force Survey showing only 4500 self-employed Maori women, about 6.4 percent of the total number of self-employed women.

She said an additional 1300 Maori women were self-employed and employing others, which was only 3.3 percent of the total number of women in this category.

"I hope this new scheme to help Maori women become self employed will reduce these obvious inequities," Ms Lee said.


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