Mastercard Names NZ the Top Country for Women Entrepreneurs

Press Release – Mastercard

Mastercard Index Names New Zealand the Top Country
for Women Entrepreneurs

New Zealand is in the lead but gender bias still in play for women entrepreneurs around the world

Auckland, 8 March 2018 – New Zealand women entrepreneurs have the strongest supporting conditions and opportunities to thrive, according to the second edition of the Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs released today ahead of International Women’s Day.
The Mastercard research tracks the progress and achievement of women entrepreneurs and business owners across 57 markets spanning five geographic regions – Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa, and North America – measuring a range of factors, each on a 100-point scale.

The Index examines a number of measures to determine the level of opportunity for women entrepreneurs, including women’s advancement outcomes, knowledge and financial access, and supporting entrepreneurial factors. New Zealand was ranked first place for the second year in a row, scoring 74.2 overall, ahead of Sweden (71.3), Canada (70.9) and the United States (70.8).

“It is great to see that women entrepreneurs in New Zealand are thriving and we have strong conditions to foster innovation. Our access to support, financial services, robust small and mid-sized business communities and ease of doing business provide a great starting platform for entrepreneurs in the making,” says Ruth Riviere, Country Manager for Mastercard New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.

The research found that women business owners in the top nations were able to draw from a greater pool of enabling resources and opportunities, including access to capital, financial services and academic programmes.

The supportive conditions in New Zealand help overcome the two most common obstacles discouraging women from becoming entrepreneurs – cultural biases and fewer opportunities for advancement.
Despite these supportive conditions, in all 57 economies evaluated, there are still barriers holding back the growth of women’s business ownership. In New Zealand, women need to overcome their weak perception of opportunities and capabilities, and fear of business failure.

“Ahead of International Women’s Day, we hope the study’s findings can serve as a timely reminder that we need to work together to provide the best support for budding female entrepreneurs and business owners, including greater financial inclusion and wider access to education,” says Riviere.

In New Zealand, women make up one in three business owners, the fourth highest rate in the world (33.0%). Developing nations Ghana (46.4%), Russia (34.6%) and Uganda (33.8%) have the largest number of women business owners as a percentage of total business owners, with the findings revealing this is mainly driven by necessity rather than drive for business opportunities.
“It is great to see that a third of business owners in New Zealand are women, however this also shows there is still a way to go before we achieve gender parity. International Women’s Day is a great opportunity to reflect on the findings and a reminder that society still needs to address bias to strengthen the supporting conditions for women in entrepreneurship and contribute to economic growth,” says Riviere.
Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs – Top 10 markets with the strongest supporting conditions and opportunities for women to thrive as entrepreneurs

1. New Zealand – 74.2
2. Sweden – 71.3
3. Canada – 70.9
4. United States – 70.8
5. Singapore – 69.2
6. Portugal – 69.1
7. Australia – 68.9
8. Belgium – 68.7
9. Philippines – 68.0
10. United Kingdom – 67.9

Women business owners as a percentage of all business owners – Top 10 markets

1. Ghana – 46.4%
2. Russia – 34.6%
3. Uganda – 33.8%
4. New Zealand – 33.0%
5. Australia – 32.1%
6. Vietnam – 31.3%
7. Poland – 30.3%
8. Spain – 29.4%
9. Romania -28.9%
10. Portugal – 28.7%

The full report is available here:

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