Attending last week’s Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment organised event, Taking Care of Business: Government Supporting Your Business, reminded me of how important small businesses are to our community and economy.  Well over 150 businesses registered for this event where government agenises outlined a suite of tools available to help all businesses but in particular small business become a success.


Apart from the attendees being informed with a wide range of resources currently available to New Zealand businesses through government agencies that can help make their business life easier, the real take away of the evening was just how important small businesses are to both our regional and national economy.  Not only do they provide the community in which they operate goods and services that the consumers needs, they bring growth and innovation to local communities.  Small businesses stimulate economic activity, provide employment and complement or contribute to the value chain of larger often export focused businesses.


Statistically 97% of New Zealand enterprises employ less than 20 people and virtually all of these enterprises are independently owned.  Almost half the jobs created in 2014 were created by these businesses and the average salary of workers in these businesses is about $43800.  70% have zero employees.  Improving the capability of that 70% so that they can grow –if that is their aspiration- and employ one or two workers is an equally valid objective as seeking to attract inward investment from large corporations with many employees.


From the community perspective they help create wealth for workers, they provide the consumer with a wider range of choice and because of the inter-connectedness of the business owner with the community they are often there for the long game so benefit the sustainability of many small regional urban centres.  This commitment is underpinned by them living in the community in which they operate, belonging to various cultural and sporting groups, their children attending local schools and their business investment often being secured against their own personal property.


With the right support these businesses can be very productive, they have a scale which enables them to adapt and innovate to meet changing markets and if the owner has the aspiration to do so ten their growth can attract talent and provide work for young people providing and example to the next generation of future business owners or entrepreneurs.


Back to top