Five prominent Kiwi businesswomen will kick off a female entrepreneurs week during a panel discussion at an event in Auckland tomorrow night.

The week runs from March 12 and has been developed by Co. of Women, a membership-based learning and support organisation for female entrepreneurs.

Fashion designer Trelise Cooper, fund manager Carmel Fisher, Birthcare founder Lee Mathias, Pacific education pioneer Anita Finnigan and PC Direct founder Sharon Hunter will make up the panel and share their experiences in business.

Co. of Women founder and chief executive Tara Lorigan said the week had been created to highlight the challenges faced by female entrepreneurs and to improve awareness of the diversity of success achieved by women.


"While much has changed in terms of gender disparities, there are many gender-related challenges that persist, some new," she said.

Lorigan said one of the challenges faced by women in business was the fact they often remained primary caregivers for the children.

"These women are now also having to care for their parents, so you get this two-generational draw on your energy while you are also trying to grow your business," she said.

Prime Minister John Key will attend the event, which will also feature a cocktail function following a panel discussion.

Tomorrow is also International Women's Day.

To reserve a ticket contact