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Symposium Examines The Nation's Economic Engine

For immediate release

Thursday 23rd January 2003

Symposium Examines The Nation’s Economic Engine Room

The University of Auckland Business School and its affiliated new venture accelerator, The ICEHOUSE, will this Friday host a research symposium on small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

SMEs are the lifeblood of the New Zealand economy, with more than 99% of the country’s 340,000 businesses employing fewer than 50 people. The Symposium will address some of the issues these businesses face.

One of the presenters is Dr Marie Wilson, Associate Professor in the Business School’s Department of Management and Employment Relations, and a director of The ICEHOUSE. She says the success of these SMEs is essential for a healthy economy.

“Quality research in collaboration with SMEs is crucial. The Business School is developing a world class teaching and research programme in entrepreneurship and innovation. Together with The ICEHOUSE it is committed to encouraging enterprise creation and growth,” said Dr Wilson.

“The more in-depth, quality research we can provide on the sector, the greater the likelihood our SMEs will prosper and grow.”

“The New Zealand SME: Current Research, Enduring Questions” will address three issues:

- An Ethnography of Small Business Emergence through Government Privatisation in New Zealand

Presenter: Dr Suchi Mouly, Associate Professor, Dept. of Management & Employment Relations, University of Auckland Business School

(Dr Mouly presents findings from her “participant observations” of a struggling small services business founded by former personnel of a failed Government corporation. Her research shows that such businesses are prone to failure in large part because of the sheltered market environment within which their personnel are used to operating.)

- Bringing Cinderella in from the Cold: The Reemergence of SMEs as a Focus for Research and Policy

Presenter: Dr Claire Massey, Director, NZ Centre for SME Research, Massey University

(Dr Massey will examine the reasons for the renewed focus on SMEs after a long period of relative research and policy obscurity. She will also outline current research activity at the Centre. Dr Massey is the co-author with Alan Cameron of two recent books on the sector: SMEs in New Zealand, and Entrepreneurs at Work. She has worked on numerous projects for Government, including work on the BIZ evaluation, business compliance and the Business Practice and Performance Survey.)

- SME Research and Policy Opportunities: A Focus for AREDS (Auckland Regional Economic Development Strategy)

Author: Dr Heather Wilson, Senior Lecturer, Dept. of International Business, University of Auckland Business School

Presenter: Dr Marie Wilson, Associate Professor, Dept. of Management & Employment Relations, University of Auckland Business School, and a Director of The ICEHOUSE

(This research, commissioned by AREDS, summarises existing studies on SMEs in New Zealand. SMEs that fail to grow are frequently reluctant to employ equity funding, but the issue is compounded by compliance concerns and constraints associated with the SME and New Zealand cultures. While lack of finance is not a major issue for SMEs, there are considerable impediments to e-commerce development. The extremely low take-up of education and training initiatives, the lack of policy corordination, and the limited or non-existent evaluation and measurement of policy support calls for a fundamental departure from the current paternalistic approach.)

A panel discussion will follow the presentations.

The symposium will be held on Friday 24th January, from 10.30am to 1pm, in Room 201, 1-11 Short Street, Auckland.

Media are welcome to attend and/or contact the presenters directly.

Note to editors: As part of its ongoing efforts to develop into a world class organisation, the University of Auckland Business School is raising money to construct a purpose-built, state-of-the-art facility, attract and retain quality staff, and support research activities, course and programme development. The estimated cost is $110 million.


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