It’s a fact that globally, only 18 per cent of startups have a female in the founding team despite the positive effect women in leadership roles have on equity returns and sales.



‘There are too many brilliant women out there who have abandoned great business ideas because it just got too hard.  Or they never even got started because they didn’t have the confidence to set their ideas in motion. With the right kind of help and guidance who knows how many could have got on that rocky road to success and just kept going.’

Female entrepreneurs in New Zealand are supported by dedicated and passionate groups of professional women who have created or are part of unique mentoring and networking programmes.   These groups such as Lightning Lab XX, Professionelle and Co. of Women, are tackling the gender imbalance in New Zealand start-ups and Annette encourages and supports their work by contributing her time and expertise including mentoring, speaking engagements, motivational sessions and networking opportunities.

It’s a fact that globally, only 18 per cent of start-ups have a female in the founding team despite the positive effect women in leadership roles have on equity returns and sales.

Explore and connect with the companies below to become part of their outstanding programmes.


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Lightning Lab has implemented the country’s first female founder business acceleration programme, of which Annette is a mentor.

Each programme lasts 14 weeks. During this time they work closely with the female founders to nurture, guide and develop their fledgling companies into attractive investable opportunities with global potential.

The XX programme is an off-shoot of Lightning Lab which is run by CreativeHQ, a start-up innovation company based in Wellington and funded through government and private investors.

 As well as sharing her experience and knowledge as a mentor, Annette is also an investor which means she is personally addressing another gender inequality as 80 per cent of investors are men.

For more information on the mentoring programme run by Lightning Lab XX, visit their website.


Annette is proud to have an ongoing affiliation with Professionelle and honoured to speak at a number of their events.   They offer professional development for working women at all stages of their careers, enabled by free membership, including benefits such as access to articles, targeted seminars, as well as providing a number of mentoring programmes to support women in business, develop women’s careers and connect professional women from all sectors of business.

For more information about membership benefits, including their mentoring programmes, please visit their website.

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Connecting and champion entrepreneurial women, Co.of Women was founded by a diverse range of business women across many industries who are passionate about innovation, enabling success and making positive changes for all – including the planet!  A membership based business support, they offer both digital and hands-on membership options targeted at the busy professional woman, including a range of events as well as one-on-one and peer group growth programmes designed to progress the goals and aspirations of members. Invigorate! PowerUp! Inspire!

Annette supports the team at Co.of Women through speaking engagements and working with the founders to share ideas and inspiration.  Find out more by visiting their website.