Ernst Young is helping gender equality in business through the company’s Entrepreneurial Winning Women program, which will see its inaugural year in the Asia-Pacific region in 2015. Four Australians and one New Zealander have been selected for this year’s class, which also includes women from China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea. The year-long program, which has already been implemented and successful in North America, is designed to assist established women-led businesses with scaling operations to become global market leaders.
An executive sponsor of the program, Annette Kimmitt, shared that women are already playing an essential role in creating sustainable economic growth in the region.
“The United Nations estimates that if women achieved their full economic potential, the Asia-Pacific economy could grow by as much as US$89 billion annually. Yet research consistently shows that women-owned companies don’t always scale as high or as fast as they could,” she said.
“The next step then is to ensure that those women-led businesses that have the ability and desire to grow are able to do so. Our EWW program bridges that gap—providing access to guidance, insights, financial support, market visibility and the right business partnerships to help women business leaders to achieve their massive economic potential.”
The North American program has generated some impressive results, including a 63 percent increase in revenue among participants. If the same success is gained in the Asia-Pacific region, over US$720m could be contributed to the economy; there could also be an additional 2,200 jobs added to the market over a period of three years.\The program includes a two-day conference in Singapore in April, as well as a series of e-conferences as well as in-country business sessions and workshops. The program focuses on expanding knowledge through the latest information, research and executive dialogues; identifying and building strategic alliances; providing access to formal and informal guidance and support networks; strengthening executive leadership skills and identifying opportunities for business growth; and increasing visibility for women entrepreneurs and their companies.
“Part of what makes this program so unique is its global access. EY’s program takes women entrepreneurs beyond their own domestic market, connecting them with our global EY EWW alumnae of experienced and successful entrepreneurs, mentors, business partners and even venture capitalists,” Kimmitt said.
Below is some information on each of the women selected from Australia and New Zealand.
Vanessa Garrard | E3 Style (Brisbane, Australia): A product development business for major retailers and distributors of consumer electronics, stationery and pet products in Australia and worldwide. The company develops products using retailer brands, its own brands and through the licensing of popular characters including Star Wars, Batman, and Peppa Pig.
Bobbi Mahlab | Mahlab Media (Sydney, Australia): A content marketing agency that produces content and content strategies for associations and brands across multiple platforms - content hubs, magazines, video, blogs, social media and e-newsletters. The company helps organizations to become publishers by developing their content platforms.
Nicola Mills | Pacific Retail Management (Sydney, Australia): Owns and manages over 50 retail stores and commercial kitchens including Australia’s No.1 Sushi franchise - Go Sushi, the fresh juice brand - Kick Juice Bars and the sushi brand with a green heart - Wasabi Warriors. The Wasabi Warriors franchise is established in Hong Kong and the Philippines.
Jo Pennycuick | Redesign Group (Christchurch, New Zealand): A multi-disciplinary design practice founded in 1998 that offers a range of services including spatial design, retail, food and beverage, commercial office planning, airport and mall interior design, graphic design and branding, franchise set-up and management, and project management and construction. The company is located in New Zealand, India, the Middle East and Vietnam.
Naomi Simson | RedBalloon (Sydney, Australia): RedBalloon is an online experience retailer which allows its customers to give the gift of memories to friends, family and colleagues. The business provides more than 2,500 experiences, selling everything from skydiving to cooking classes and flying trapeze lessons. Founded in 2001, the company has sold 2.5 million experiences.