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Small Business Council sharpens focus on future disruption

12 Nov 2018

Three months after the creation of New Zealand’s Small Business Council, it now has the four pillars that will underpin support for small businesses in the future.

Small businesses make up 97% of all New Zealand businesses, employ more than 600,000 people and are crucial to the economy.

The Council, which was formed to advise the government on how it could improve New Zealand’s SMB sector, has conducted four meetings since its launch. Those four meetings have been critical to establishing goals and themes that will help to develop the Council’s strategy.

The Council will focus on four key themes to guide that strategy: They include capital and access to finance; compliance and enablers; innovation and sustainability; and management capability and workforce.

These will complement the Council’s ultimate goal of developing a strategy that provides real solutions and support for small businesses going forward.

“The Council has covered a lot of ground in the weeks since its formation,” says Small Business Council chair Tenby Powell.

“We’ve taken a bird’s-eye look at the current landscape and the issues small businesses are facing. We have heard from a range of government agencies, businesses and stakeholders like the Tax Working Group, Xero and the Treasury and we have confirmed how the Living Standards Framework will be applied in our work.”

He adds that the Council is now looking at how small businesses could be better supported, particularly in a future where technology development, trade and government priorities are all changing and developing.

“Supporting improvements to the environment in which businesses operate will have a direct impact on those who run them, including their families, their local communities, and the wider New Zealand economy,” says Powell.

He adds that the Council also welcomes the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Council’s commitment to SMEs as well.

The Business Advisory Council is focused on building a productive economy for New Zealanders. Its top four priorities include: accelerating regions; attracting high quality investment; building tomorrow’s skills; and ‘unleashing’ SMBs.

“The Business Advisory Council will play a key role in helping to shift the economy up a gear and to unleash New Zealand’s economic potential,” says Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

However, the Business Advisory Council will prioritise the first three areas and focus on SMEs later on.

“It’s great to see the Business Advisory Council recognises the importance of the SME sector and we look forward to both councils working collaboratively to support our small businesses to thrive,” Powell comments.

The Small Business Council has been convened for one year and will report back to the Minister for Small Business Stuart Nash with a future-focused small business strategy to inform Government policy and initiatives.

The Council will report back with its findings in August 2019.

“We will now be looking to engage with small businesses and other stakeholders as our work progresses,” Powell concludes.