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Govt: SMEs crucial for Kiwi business growth

19 Jun 14

The government has launched a new SME Research Hub in Wellington, which pulls together important information in one place for small business owners, researchers, government officials and policy makers.

“This new research centre underlines the importance of small business to New Zealand and the New Zealand economy,” says Steven Joyce, Small Business Minister.

The hub came about following discussions between the Small Enterprise Association of Australia and New Zealand (SEAANZ) and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment around how to create a central online repository of research and policy related to SMEs.

With assistance from Treasury, a website has been developed that so far contains 150 research publications.

Joyce also released the first Small Business Sector Report providing detailed information on the 459,000 small businesses that make up a large part of the New Zealand economy.

The report compliments the seven reports that make up the NZ Sector Reports Series released by the government over the past year.

“Small businesses are the backbone of the New Zealand economy and this report provides valuable information on our small business sector showing the diversity and significant contribution it makes to our economy, jobs and growth,” Joyce adds.

“The report focuses on the government’s Business Growth Agenda and the more than 100 specific initiatives across the six key inputs small businesses need to be successful – infrastructure, export markets, innovation, capital markets, skilled and safe workplaces, capital markets and natural resources.

“Examples include the roll out of ultrafast and rural broadband, the building of the Roads of National Significance, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise helping firms in overseas markets, changes to allow the cash-out of R&D tax losses for innovative start-ups, voluntary 90-day employment trial period, the starting-out wage, Apprenticeship Reboot programme, reduction in personal and company tax, and changes to the Resource Management Act.”

The report includes international comparisons, regional breakdowns and case studies of small businesses in different industries.

It shows:

• 97 per cent of enterprises in New Zealand are small businesses and have fewer than 20 employees

• 584,000 people employed in enterprises with fewer than 20 people, making up 30 per cent of the workforce

• small businesses contribute to 28 per cent of New Zealand’s GDP

• small businesses have higher birth and death rates than larger firms. On average 50 per cent of enterprises with 10-19 employees are still operating after 10 years

• small businesses have higher worker turnover rates than larger firm sizes

• over the past decade the number of self-employed aged 20-39 has steadily decreased, whereas numbers have increased for the over 50s

• limited experience in expanding overseas is the most common barrier to small businesses wanting to export.

“What is clear from this report is that both central and local government need to ensure they provide policy that doesn’t wrap small businesses in bureaucratic red tape and allows them to succeed, grow and create jobs,” Joyce adds.

“The government knows that nothing creates jobs and boosts incomes better than business growth and investment.

"Through our Business Growth Agenda we want to convert a couple of years of good economic growth into a sustained lift in our economic performance that benefits New Zealand long-term.”

The SME Research Hub website is available at https://www.gen.org.nz/tikiindex.php?page=Welcome+to+the+SME+Research+Hub

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