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Website To Assist Small Businesses


Business In The Community Launches State-Of-The-Art Database Enabled Website To Assist Small Businesses

Business in the Community (BITC), the nationwide charitable trust that provides a free mentoring service for small businesses, has launched a new web-based database system aimed at more accurate matching of small businesses with appropriate mentors.

"The website (www.businessmentor.org.nz ) will help BITC, which has grown rapidly over the last three years, deal with an increasing demand for our services", said Ray Schofield, Chief Executive of BITC.

Last year BITC's 22 agencies and more than 1300 mentors throughout New Zealand helped BITC assist nearly 5000 small businesses.

"KPMG research of our performance with our clients has consistently showed that we could improve our performance if we more accurately matched the needs of small businesses with the most appropriate mentor", said Ray Schofield. "To achieve an improvement we had to know more about why a client required a mentor and we had to be able to improve our matching of mentor skills with those client needs.

"BITC felt that if we took the significant step of web-enabling our business, that we could improve communication at every level of our process. We are fortunate that a number of our patron companies are in the IT and legal sectors and they provided guidance in the change to a web-based business".

After several months of trialling the website went live on February 1 this year. "We now have a system that provides paperless administration between clients, mentors, agencies, and our own national office, said Ray Schofield.

"Personal contact is still very important, so the system ensures that telephone contact is made before any mentor visits. Confidentiality must also be adhered to so we have tight security and legal protocols built into the system."

Mr. Schofield added: "We are delighted with the initial feedback from clients, mentors and agencies alike. Whilst the web system's set-up cost was a significant cost for a charitable organisation such as ours we feel that the introduction of web-based administration can only improve our levels of assistance to New Zealand small businesses."

About Business In The Community

Business In The Community is a national, non-profit organisation set up in 1991 with the support of successful New Zealand companies and organisations to assist business growth, efficiency and profitability and in turn generate more jobs, and where appropriate, more exports. By creating employment opportunities, the whole community benefits through a better standard of living and less dependence on the welfare system. BITC helps business growth through the provision of a unique, nationwide free mentoring service, provided by more than 1300 volunteer mentors with a wide range of business experience and expertise.


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