An Entrepreneurial Journey

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Naumai, Averil
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Master of Professional Practice
Otago Polytechnic | Te Pūkenga
Mataiti, Helen
Forsyth, Glenys
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
successful female entrepreneurs
product development
entrepreneurial ecosystem
your 'why'
Naumai, A. (2023). An entrepreneurial journey. (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Professional Practice). Otago Polytechnic | Te Pūkenga, New Zealand.
My Master of Professional Practice thesis, named ‘An Entrepreneurial Journey,’ examines the key success elements that are characteristic of female entrepreneurs in Aotearoa New Zealand (NZ). It offers useful information for aspiring business owners, those already on their entrepreneurial journey, and stakeholders who are decision-makers for entrepreneurship. There has been a lot of interest in the study of entrepreneurship from academic and professional groups due to its broad and dynamic nature. Entrepreneurship is a vital component of the business landscape and understanding the success factors that enable, specifically female entrepreneurs, to launch, maintain, and grow their businesses in NZ is important to contribute to economic growth. Therefore, I aimed to answer the question, “What are the key success elements involved in starting and growing female-led businesses in New Zealand?” A multifaceted methodology was used that combined a pragmatic philosophy with a qualitative research methodology using thematic content analysis and inductive reasoning to investigate and comprehend the research question. The methods included action research, surveys, and a literature review which received ethical approval from the College of Work-Based Learning Ethics Committee. The research was divided into two parts: one being a practical real-life business startup and product development project, which included a feasibility survey and journal, and the second being a survey of six successful NZ female entrepreneurs that contained 16 open-ended questions. The practical project covered several entrepreneurial process stages, including opportunity identification, business startup, and product development, as well as project management, budgeting, and risk analysis. Knowledge was gained through taking practical action and learning from the process and outcomes. The survey results provided insightful information on the participants’ organizations from their founding to their growth. The combined literature review, practical project, and survey identified four main categories with twelve success factors: Personal Factors: Motivation Characteristics Mastery Startup Factors: Opportunities Startup Business Factors: Operations Money Risk Management Marketing Growth Challenges External Factors: Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Under personal factors, motivation was a primary success factor, comprising passion-driven and purpose-driven product development based on the entrepreneur’s ‘why.’ Entrepreneurial characteristics portrayed an entrepreneurial mindset and skill mastery was also a dominant theme. The startup factors included products or services aligned with the entrepreneurs ‘why’ and passion, as well as a robust business plan. The business factors incorporated funding and investment, a great team, planning, quality equipment, cashflow management, risk management, customer-centric marketing, branding, and experience in the industry. The external factors included the entrepreneurial ecosystem consisting of mentors, investors, government funding, and training. Conclusions and recommendations of this thesis aim to: advance the field of entrepreneurship; guide aspiring entrepreneurs to get clarity on their ‘why’; encourage schools and tertiary institutes to establish a strong foundation in entrepreneurship; promote further development of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in NZ including starting an innovation hub for product development; and provide access to female entrepreneurship statistical information. The ‘entrepreneur is the business’ and without the entrepreneur, the business would not exist. Entrepreneurship is a life-changing adventure, and entrepreneurs embrace the journey to fulfil their vision.
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