Government to set up Institute for Small Businesses

Venkat Raman

Auckland, April 21, 2018

The Government will establish an Institute for Small Businesses to help in their productivity, competitiveness and growth.

This was revealed by Small Business Minister Stuart Nash while speaking to members and guests of the India New Zealand Business Council at the Ernst Young (EY) Meeting Hall on Wednesday, April 18, 2018.

He did not give details, except to say that he hoped to have a report in place by the end of the year from experts and from the Small Business Council.

“The Small Business Council (SBC) will be established next month and will comprise government officials and members of the business community,” he said.

It is understood that the tenure of a similar Council established under the National government has run out.

“There is a need for an Institute that will support small businesses who are the backbone of the New Zealand economy. While a majority of New Zealand businesses are small, they contribute more than 25% to our GDP and account for more than 30% of all jobs. Kiwis are known for their innovation and with appropriate support and initiatives, we can grow our small businesses,” he said.

Mr Nash said that his government was committed to promoting economic growth through new ideas, new initiatives and new ways of participating in the overseas markets.

“Although we suffer the ‘tyranny of distance,’ New Zealand companies have shown enterprise and foresight in export growth. Our government realises that it is equally important to grow our domestic economy by encouraging New Zealanders to buy New Zealand-made products,” he said.

He said that the government was keen to provide every small business in New Zealand the tools and the confidence required to meet their potential and realise their goals as businesses and as individuals.

“We know that with the right mix of ambition, innovation, and support, that Kiwi businesses can be the best in the world across all spheres of business from the primary sections to the most advanced computer design and augmented reality through to rockets,” Mr Nash said.

Paying tributes to the Indian business community, he said that entrepreneurs of Indian origin in New Zealand ‘incredibly hardworking and have demonstrated their technical and commercial competence in being among the best in the world.’

“We are keen to have a viable and fair Free Trade Agreement with India and utilise the immense potential that the Indian economy and the Indian markets offer for our products and services. We see the Indian business community as the perfect connection to achieve our objectives,” he said.

Mr Nash said that the offices of New Zealand Trade & Enterprise (NZTE) in New Delhi and Mumbai provide a range of services to Indian businesses to establish their presence in India and for New Zealand businesses to gainfully engage with their counterparts in India.

“Since becoming the Minister for Small Business I have been able to meet many people who are like-minded about the importance of small businesses, who have contributed to these successes, and are driven to help them overcome the shared challenges we face together from our little corner of the Pacific,” he said.

Mr Nash said one of the major challenges faced by New Zealand is to improve productivity and that he would like to help businesses rise to meet our lower productivity compared to other countries.

In an earlier address at the launch of the New Zealand Business Performance Panel, Mr Nash said that addressing this productivity gap is a priority of his Government.

“It has been suggested by the OECD that improving New Zealand’s management practices could help bridge this gap, and this was supported by the research of the Productivity Commission and business.govt.nz. This is why business.govt.nz has brought together this panel, with the aim of connecting New Zealand’s small businesses to thought leaders from around the world,” he said.

Among the other speakers at the INZBC meeting were EY Executive Director Sanjay Kumar, Tax Partner Paul Dunne, Westpac Head of Corporate & Institutional Relationships Andrew Bashford and INZBC Board Member Sameer Handa.

The Meeting was a part of the Council’s ‘Indian Unplugged’ series.

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