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Time For Women To Do It For Themselves In Growth Equity

Time For Women To Be Doing It For Themselves In Growth Equity

There’s never been a better time for women to be making their mark in growth equity, a meeting hosted by the NZVCA at the Auckland offices of Minter Ellison Rudd Watts heard this week.

The gathering of women with an interest in growth equity markets heard that women mentoring women, women investing in women and unprecedented opportunities brought about by changing technology were all key to a sea change in gender diversity in the sector in New Zealand.

Speaking at the Women in Growth Equity meeting on Wednesday 29th April, Franceska Banga, CEO of the New Zealand Venture Investment Fund says: ‘I can’t think of a better time to be a woman growth capital. The lack of women in the sector is itself an opportunity to step up and stand out. But a number of other factors such as the massive disruption caused by new technologies, including traditional industries and the favourable economic cycle, means there are opportunities for experienced business women to step up, including at director level, within growth companies. It’s time for women to stop taking calls and start making calls and be successful in venture capital.’

She points out that the US has seen rapid advancement for women in equity markets in recent years but that New Zealand is still lagging behind, noting that a recent NZX survey of 109 listed companies found there were 577 male directors compared with only 79 female directors and of the top 44 NZX companies by income all have male CEOs.

But Franceska Banga says the answer lies in women’s own hands: ` There is a growing awareness that to make a difference we have to want to encourage other women to take on leadership roles. That means being willing to mentor them. I know it is hard to get female mentors but we do have a responsibility to find ways to mentor other women.’

Marie-Claire Andrews, CEO of event app company ShowGizmo, agrees that technology offers great opportunities for women in high growth companies but warns: 'there is still a belief amongst investors and the ecosystem in New Zealand that women aren't as skilled and able to lead tech companies and it's our responsibility as entrepreneurs to get out and show them what's possible - over and over again'.

Laura McKenzie, CEO of Australasian female focused angel investor network, Scale Investors comments: `Women represent less than 4% of venture funded companies in Australia and less than 2% of angel investors. We believe that there is a strong correlation between the number of angel investors and the number of female entrepreneurs receiving funding. In the last 2 years, Scale has formed a community of over 70 Angel investors and we have spoken to almost 500 female entrepreneurs. We believe that part of the solution is to train more women to be investors, and that is why we started Scale.’


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