Women still make up a minority of entrepreneurs, but they are gaining ground quickly.


In Australia women represent only 34 per cent of entrepreneurs, but the number of female entrepreneurs is growing at a faster rate than for men.


With 'Press for Progress' as the theme of International Women's Day for 2018, Small Business Minister Craig Laundy says more change is needed.


"While there have been positive developments in the overall participation of women in Australian entrepreneurship and business, we want to see those numbers increase further," he says. 


Small business and family enterprise ombudsman Kate Carnell says there are great role models around for female entrepreneurs but barriers remain.


"We still have the issue of access to capital and women who have grown a small successful business, giving them the confidence to grow them to large successful businesses," she says. 


Ahead of International Women's Day on Thursday we've put together a panel comprising Laundy, Carnell and Grace Papers founder Prue Gilbert to nominate the most influential female entrepreneurs in Australia.



Eliza Brown, co-owner and chief executive of All Saints Wine

Eliza Brown was 32 and pregnant when her father died in a car accident. 


Brown not only lost her father but had to move quickly to deal with the family's winery All Saints Wine.


"The immediate challenge was realigning the business for the three of us, my brother, sister and I," says Brown. "My father had been running the business like he always had, but we had to start thinking about the future and how we would like it run in the future. He had lots of handshake deals with other people and we had to work out what they were and how to manage things going forward."


Brown says the business is now thriving.


It turns over more than $5 million a year and employs 25 full-time staff and around 15 part-time staff.


"We are growing in lots of different ways," she says. "We have purchased another vineyard just down the road from All Saints in readiness for our big push into export. We have opened up a wine bar in the main street of Rutherglen. The business is quite dynamic in lots of ways."


Biggest influence

"I always look at the fashion industry as I see wine as quite aligned to fashion and lifestyle. I look at how they brand themselves and how premium brands promote themselves. We went to England and got a tour around Net-a-Porter because we felt they are a dynamic business with a very customer-centric approach. We look to brands which deliver to the customer and give surprise and delight." 


Influencing others

"I work really hard. I think for us, we are not afraid to work really hard and do the dirty work to inspire everyone else. We hope what we are doing will inspire other people especially for our younger staff seeing the owners being women and men and they can see working in a business and juggling kids and the rest of your life is really important."


Pressing for progress

"We are not getting there fast enough. In the wine industry, I'm on the Wine Australia board and on the Brown Brothers board I don't find them at all against women's progress. They are very supportive. There are not enough women in those key positions, but in the wine industry we are growing grapes and making wine and for a lot of the people in this industry it is a lot of hard work so it takes you out of your business when you step into those key roles. For women it's about finding the time, rather than not wanting to." 


The Canberra Times, March 2018 



Here’s cheers to female entrepreneurs all over the world! 


Read the full article here.