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The Influencers: Joanna Norris


ChristchurchNZ Chief Executive

As this issue goes to print, we are due to release the latest Quarterly Economic Report, a key metric used to track our economy and focus our own programme of work.

We aim to build and maintain a future-focused economy that raises the standard of living for residents.

A key way we drive economic growth is attracting business events to the city. We recently launched a new brand to do this – Business Events Christchurch – a partnership between Tourism New Zealand, Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre and ChristchurchNZ’s Convention Bureau.

Our city is primed to host large-scale business events with world-class venues, a humming business community, and a deep pool of expertise in our universities and public sector.

Another driver of economic growth are the city’s existing strengths helping to future-proof our economy.

We have worked with local industry and education experts to create our Supernodes initiative – areas of sustainable growth and high-value employment.

We’re working to attract talent in these areas, build career pathways and foster collaboration, and we’re looking forward to sharing more on this soon.

And there is little doubt IKEA’s recent announcement about opening a store in Ōtautahi Christchurch spurred excitement among our residents, and should create numerous jobs in the city.

We continue to drive economic growth during these exciting times for the city. We are well and truly regaining our status as a major New Zealand urban centre.


 

The Influencers: Lianne Dalziel


  Christchurch Mayor

I remember the Commonwealth Games in 1974. I was a young teenager and the city was abuzz with excitement. I can still remember the song:

We’ve got to join together,
let our laughter fill the air
It’s time for every race and creed
to throw away their every care
Let sport unite us all as one
in the spirit of the lord above
And let us all remember
The games are for the fostering of
peace and love

Never would I have imagined 45 years later that the spirit of these words would be invoked in response to an atrocity such as we experienced on 15 March last year.

Although we will never forget the 51 people whose lives were taken, our memory of that time will always include the way we ‘joined together’.

We stood side-by-side regardless of ‘race or creed’. We were ‘united as one’, and the ‘fostering of peace and love’ was made real.

This act, which was inspired by hatred and was designed to divide us and tear us apart, instead united us with all our communities and embraced us in compassion and love.

The words of our Prime Minister and that of our local Muslim community leaders, who spoke of peace, love, compassion, unity and forgiveness, helped us through this time.

In a time of crisis, this is what the world needs to see and hear, and that’s what makes Christchurch such a special place.


 

The Influencers: Marian Johnson


Ministry of Awesome Chief Awesome Officer

International Women’s Day just passed and I’m thinking about why it’s hard to get a long list together of female startup founders in Christchurch.

The scarcity of female founders is a global issue and to appreciate the size of the problem here’s a few stats to consider: 83 percent of all venture capital investment goes to all-male founder teams, 12 percent goes to mixed gender teams and only a tiny four percent goes to all-female teams.

We also know that investor teams are mostly male. In the UK, 48 percent of VC teams are all-male with only 13 percent having a female senior executive.

The majority of startups attracting capital are technology-based and fewer than 26 percent of tech employees are women.

Attitudes to risk differ amongst the sexes, with men showing as more pro-risk than women.

High growth startups are inherently risky so maybe an aversion to risk is also one of the factors for why female founders are rarer than male.

But companies with female leaders are 12 percent more profitable than their counterparts.

We also know that, according to Pew Research, women are 34 percent better at working out compromises and 34 percent more likely to be honest and ethical.

Whether the problem is unconscious bias, lack of representation in ‘startup’ sectors, or gender profiles, we must get behind our female founders and give them the connections and opportunity they need to level up and, in doing so, benefit us all.