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Breaking ceilings and tradition: Frances Valintine recognised for her entrepreneurial endeavours

The New Zealand Hall of Fame for Women Entrepreneurs 2022 on Thursday, July 21, 2022. Photo: David Rowland / One-Image.com

Frances Valintine, Founder, and CEO of The Mind Lab and Tech Futures Lab is one of three incredible wahine to be inducted into the New Zealand Hall of Fame for Women Entrepreneurs/ Te Whare Whakahōnore i ngā Rakahinonga Wāhine o Aotearoa in 2022. 

She was inducted alongside BioTech Pioneer Maxine Simmons CNZM and Rhonda Kite MNZM, Indigenous Language Translation Trailblazer.

They join 32 other inspiring women who have not only been trailblazers in business, education, culture and community but have always given their time and energy to supporting the success of other women entrepreneurs.

The New Zealand Hall of Fame/ Te Whare Whakahōnore i ngā Rakahinogna Wāhine o Aotearoa, founders by the Co. OfWomen, is in its eleventh year. Only three female entrepreneurs are chosen each year based on four criteria: they’re normalising success, they offer encouragement to women working on their own, they create accessible examples of what a successful entrepreneur looks like and they demonstrate diversity in the female entrepreneurial endeavour.

Opened with a moving pōwhiri and whakatau by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, the ceremony was a beautiful celebration of both the challenges and the achievements of not just the inductees but all those who come before them and those who will come after. 

The Pounamu gifted to all inductees is carved in a unique kouma (breastplate), designed by master carver Jason Nathan. The Pounamu’s design represents the three women who have come before, the three new inductees, and the three women who will join the other inductees next year. The symbolism of connection and kinship is clear and highlights how important it still is for women entrepreneurs to support one another in what can otherwise be a lonely and challenging career path.

Frances paid tribute to the women in her life who showed her from a young age what resilience, grit and creativity looked like – her mother and two grandmothers. She attributes her energy to work tirelessly to make a difference today, to these women who were pushing boundaries and doing things their way well before there was any notion of what a ‘female entrepreneur’ was, let alone a community of women to support one another.

The New Zealand Hall of Fame for Women Entrepreneurs 2022 on Thursday, July 21, 2022. Photo: David Rowland / One-Image.com

Having an idea and a vision is one thing, but committing yourself to making it a reality is an entirely different journey. Frances knows this firsthand and believes the power of community and mentorship with people who ‘get you’ is what spurs you on to keep going and stick with it when the times are tough.

The path of an entrepreneur is not one of glamour or an easy ride. In fact, it can be one of the hardest things you can do, chasing an idea and remaining steadfast in your optimism. But it is also incredibly rewarding because breaking through those barriers is what makes us. Obstacles are meant to be overcome, it’s where real change and true success occur.

It’s one of the reasons why Frances designed the latest course at Tech Futures Lab, the Entrepreneurship micro-credential. It’s focused on supporting entrepreneurs to build not just the skills but also the qualities critical to entrepreneurial success. The course also provides that all important community experience that’s essential to keep momentum, because entrepreneurship is a rollercoaster of a ride.

For Frances, building two organisations that are centered around purpose has taken a great deal of energy, perseverance, and creativity. But today, we’re proud to see her recognised for the energy and mahi she’s put into building this unique, heart-driven place of learning.

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