I am very pleased to introduce this first issue of Start-Up – a practical guide to using technology in your business.
Without a doubt, small businesses are the backbone of New Zealand’s economy. More than 97% of all businesses in New Zealand have 19 or fewer employees, and small and medium-sized businesses account for over 40% of New Zealand’s total economic output. We all depend on the success of small businesses, and I encourage you to build your knowledge of how technology can help grow your business in the future.
You will have heard about the government’s $1.5 billion ultra-fast broadband initiative. This critical investment in our country’s infrastructure will transform our economy and create opportunities which we cannot yet begin to imagine. The benefits for small businesses will be huge for those who are ready to take advantage of it.
The government is also committed to using technology to improve communication between government and business. The government business portal www.business.govt.nz is evolving as a one-stop shop for businesses, providing information on a wide range of services and advice available for businesses. You may want to check out the website’s section on IT and e-commerce, which includes information on building a virtual business, developing new accounting and inventory systems, and selecting the right software and hardware for your business.
My role as Minister for Small Business is that of an influencer on other government portfolios, ensuring the views of small business are fed into the programmes of other government agencies. One of the ways I gather these perspectives is through the Small Business Advisory Group – a group of savvy business owners across the country with practical experience in a wide variety of industries. This group is an excellent vehicle for providing feedback on policies which affect small businesses.
One positive change which I believe has worked well is the 90-day probationary employment law. This has allowed small businesses to take a risk and employ new staff, without fear of costly legal action if things don’t work out. Since it came into effect in March last year, the prophecies of doom have not eventuated. In the current economic climate, we should do all we can to encourage businesses to take on more staff and grow their business.
I encourage you to take advantage of the many technological opportunities available and wish you well for your business in the future.
Minister for Small Business