UpFront Kiwi Entrepreneurism

In global terms, Kiwis are highly entrepreneurial lot but we rely pretty heavily on friends, rellies and investors of the angelic kind to provide the financial seeds of success.
According to the 2003 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), New Zealand is ranked fourth in the world with Total Entrepreneurial Activity score of 13.6 percent. The top three rankings go to the “churning economies” of Uganda, Venezuela and Argentina – which perhaps confirms necessity is the mother of invention. But New Zealand tops OECD countries – two places ahead of Australia and four in front of the United States.
With venture capital rare to non-existent, grassroots “informal” investments are described as “crucial” ingredient in this country’s entrepreneurial process and therefore economic growth. It accounts for 99.2 percent of total investment in new and growing start-ups.
More than half informal investors are women and the biggest financial contributions come from people in the 55-64 age group. At least 10 percent of our entrepreneurs can be classed as “elderpreneurs” ie, aged over 55 and “third-age” businesses are expected to become more common in future.
For the first time, GEM NZ looked at home-based entrepreneurial activity and found it comprised two thirds the total – or 214,000 people. These tend to be solo operators and are most likely to be involved in areas of consultancy, information technology, professional services, beauty/health and education/training. Sixty percent are aged between 35-54.
The number of women engaged in entrepreneurial activity has slipped over the past three years and now comprises 37 percent of the total.
Launched in the US as joint research project in 1999, GEM now covers 41 countries and has been conducted in New Zealand by Unitec’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship since 2000.

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