Imagine starting a business in an economic climate where lending interest rates are 30% p.a! Dame Wendy Pye faced exactly that when she was made redundant from her publishing job in 1985 and started her business Wendy Pye Publishing. Now a hugely successful business, 300 million copies of her children’s books are in homes around the world and she is finalising a deal with a China publishing giant that will put her books into schools across China.
Dame Wendy has received many accolades; she is the first living woman to be inducted into the NZ Business Hall of Fame and in 2012 she was awarded the Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to business and education. She is listed by Forbes magazine as one of the most powerful women in business in the Asian region and in 2014 the Rich Lister won the title of Business Entrepreneur of the year in the Women of Influence awards.
From early on her passion was to help children with literacy and reading. Many nights were spent around her kitchen table with famous NZ children authors such as Margaret Mahy and Joy Cowley developing books that were appropriate for differing levels of reading. Now expanding into digital, TV and new frontiers, she is still tackling this issue with as much passion as she started.
The effervescent 73 year-old has had plenty of failures along the way, but she faces them all with optimism. Starting each day early at 4:30am (a habit she developed from milking cows as a child), she records these mistakes, then uses the time to dream, think, plan and strategise. ‘Today is another day’ she says determinedly.
Congratulations to Dame Wendy Pye for being awarded the Exceptional Services to Entrepreneurship at the 2017 EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards.
2017 EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards
This is our sixth year as the principal sponsor of the prestigious EY Entrepreneur Of The Year programme in New Zealand. Our involvement reflects our long-held commitment to working with entrepreneurial companies, many of which have gone on to become true market leaders and household names. Supporting the communities in which we operate is a major part of ASB’s culture and we look forward to helping New Zealand’s fast growth, entrepreneurial organisations achieve success long into the future.
View the EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2017 finalists and category winners.