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Colyn Devereux Kay, Anita Finnigan and Sharon Hunter were the first three women inducted into the New Zealand Hall of Fame For Women Entrepreneurs at a ceremony hosted by Ernst and Young, the high point of Co.OfWomen’s Annual Summit for Entrepreneurial Women.
More than 100 women converged on Ernst & Young’s Auckland headquarters for the summit led by an impressive, generous group of successful women. The summit, called inv!gorate, was a hothouse of shared learning, support and collaboration, focused on fast tracking growth.
At a cocktail party at the completion of the day’s events, Co.OfWomen launched the New Zealand Hall of Fame for Women Entrepreneurs.
From more than 40 women nominated, 7 finalists were chosen by peer entrepreneurs, against the following criteria:
The hall of fame creates explicit examples of female entrepreneurial success to do four important jobs:
Anita who was unable to attend the ceremony was represented by her daughter, Rachel Skudder, also a director who as worked alongside her mother in the business for over 16 years. .
Anita started Best Pacifica Institute 25 years ago with 30 students & 2 staff and has built the organisation to be the largest Private Training Establishment (PTE) in New Zealand with 180 staff and 2700 students and 5 campuses in Auckland.
Anita has dedicated the organisation to serve the needs of Pacific Islands communities here in Auckland and for 25 years has delivered vocational education and training to adults and young urban Pasifica youth.
Anita established the organisation with the dual goals of achieving educational qualifications and securing employment. Because of Anita’s dedication to both qualifications and career outcomes, she established an in-house career and employment consultancy called “BEST People” which has 5 full-time employment brokers and 3 full-time careers counsellors who work with every rust to secure employment before students graduate.
Anita has developed and pioneered a very unique and successful business model and a successful educational model. BEST has been a “disruptive innovation” within the state dominated education system because she has successfully developed a rigorous and effective learning and teaching environment where Pasifika students and Maori students succeed.
Anita’s business and educational model combines entrepreneurial ingenuity with huge public good outcomes and economic contribution to Auckland’s workforce.
Anita believes in developing leaders and invests extensively in developing the business skills and experience of the women within the organisation and senior leadership team as well as a rig network of younger and up and coming women in other organisations.
Colyn who’s health is sadly in decline was represented at ceremony by her daughter and business partner Charlotte Devereux who was thrilled and honoured to accept this on behalf of Colyn.
Colyn n has founded two global brands, starting making Wood pourri from the basement of her house in 1980’s. Les Floralies turned into a global business now owned and operated by her son Danvers. She set up EGG Maternity with daughter Charlotte in 2000.
Colyn has mentored a large number of women in business in addition to suiting on a wide of range of boards including Chair of the Breast Cancer Research Trust and Auckland Chamber of Commerce.
She has become well known as a speaker at business and personal development events.
Colyn’s list of accolades & achievements include:
• 2004 – Ranked Number 8th by Deloitte for Fastest growing companies
• 2005 – Award for best maternity website
• 2006 – Letter from Parliament acknowledging EGG’s success
• 2007 – Cosmopolitan Best Maternity Jeans Award
• 2008 – Finalist in Air New Zealand Cargo Awards
• 2009 – Colyn Devereux awarded an Order of Merit for Services in Business
• 2011 – Awarded best maternity clothing in New Zealand – Oh Baby 2010
• 2012 – Award from Chamber of Commerce for her service to business development
• 2012 – Awarded best maternity clothing in New Zealand – Oh Baby
Sharon, a generous supporter of entrepreneurial women, shared about her journey, paying particular attention to the choice to step back from large scale entrepreneurial endeavour to focus focus on motherhood. A refreshingly positive perspective that resonated strongly.
Sharon started PC Direct in 1989 at the age of 21. Total start up capital from 3 shareholders was 60,000. The business was sold in 1996 to United States Office Products for circa $20 million. It employed over120 staff at time of sale.
PC Direct was the first job for more than 60 percent of the people employed by the company and was 3 time winner PC World “Best Service and Support Company” and 3 time winner PC World “ Best Personal Computer”. PC Direct remains New Zealand most successful home grown computer company.
Hirepool was first purchased in 2003 from Owens Group in a leveraged buy out, together with Goldman Sachs JB Were for $43 million. It was
sold to Next Capital in 2006 for circa $170 million. Hunter Powell Investments remained invested in the company as largest non institutional shareholder.
The company grew to more than 500 staff and had a nationwide presence of more than 70 business units in 5 years since it was first aquired in 2003. Hunter Powell remains a shareholder of NZ Rental Group, parent company of Hirepool, Porta Loo, Henderson Rentals and others.
Sharon is a Trustee of the Starship Foundation and was an early board member and later chair of the Robin Hood Foundation. The foundation championed social responsibility for business, enabling companies to form more strategic and meaningful partnerships with non profits and embed the benefits into their culture.
Sharon was appointed to the Rugby World Cup board charged with delivering on leverage and legacy outcomes from the 2011 Rugby World Cup. She was part of a five person board who donated their time for 2 years to ensure the RWC delivered results more far reaching than simply hosting the tournament. Initiatives such as hosting a second team, enhanced Taste NZ programmes, arts and culture initiatives, business showcasing and grass roots Kiwi magic.