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Business Club: SMEs Driving Economic Growth

Nationwide Business Club Looks At SMEs Driving Economic Growth

Next week will see the launch of the June Business Club series running in 12 centres from Whangarei to Invercargill. The Business Club, supported by Hewlett Packard, Microsoft and Telecom, is designed to give growing New Zealand businesses the tools and practical advice they need to succeed.

SME guru Sarah Trotman from Industry New Zealand will be keynoting at this month's Business Club event series and will profile some of New Zealand's biggest SME success stories.

Trotman says critical growth of the New Zealand economy lies in the hands of over 300,000 small to medium-sized kiwi businesses, but many do not recognise the importance of entrepreneurship, business growth and business success.

"The 300,000 SMEs we have here make up a significant portion of the local economy - that makes them the driving force of future growth in New Zealand. The sector is performing well but many business owners are not aware of the significant resourcing - much of it free - that exists to support SMEs in their development," says Ms. Trotman.

"The Business Club series is an opportunity for SME owners and managers to come and be inspired, with access to all sorts of free information and collateral that will help their business thrive. Organisations like Trade New Zealand and Industry New Zealand (which are merging to become New Zealand Trade and Enterprise from July 1) offer fantastic support for the small business and we want to make sure that SME owners and managers are maximising all the opportunities available to them."

Opportunities for development support, research and business acceleration are also offered by small business incubators like Auckland University's Icehouse. The Icehouse is a collaborative partnership between the university and several large corporates - including the three Business Club supporters - and is offering attendees of the June Business Club series the chance to win one place in their Owners and Managers Programme valued at $10,000.

"An opportunity to attend a $10,000 training programme with the country's finest proponent of SMEs is something that small business owners serious about success cannot afford to miss," says Trotman.

Sarah Trotman is an experienced and successful business leader well-known for her pragmatic and resourceful approach to building small business.

Ms. Trotman ran her own successful small business before becoming Chief Executive for Business in the Community's free Business Mentor Programme. Nominated for Her Business Women of the Year and Business Leader of the Year,

Sarah was also a runner up in the Auckland NZIM Young Executive of the Year. She sits on the National Executive of SEAANZ and on the Advisory Board of the AUT Technology Park.

Kerry Wood, from Quicken New Zealand, will also be presenting in the Business Solutions section of the event. He will demonstrate how computer-based financial systems can contribute to small business growth. The Business Club, hosted by the local Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with Telecom, Microsoft and Hewlett Packard, is a series of 12 free nationwide business forums.

The Business Club is open to all businesspeople and provides opportunities for small and medium-sized business managers to share ideas, network and learn more about the latest business and technology trends. The Business Club includes an afternoon Technology Solutions demonstration from the sponsors with a mini business expo where local businesses can display their products or services to attendees.

About HP

Recently voted the country's most trusted PC Brand, HP is one of New Zealand's top local companies (Readers Digest Survey, December 2002). HP offers a wide range of products and services specifically designed for small to medium businesses as well as the corporate sector. We are also proud to support local start up initiatives like and the Technology Investment Network, which assists New Zealand start-up companies.

About Telecom

Telecom is the primary provider of communications services to more than 110,000 New Zealand businesses of all sizes. In addition to fixed line and mobile services, it is helping businesses increase productivity by providing them with online and converged services. About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software - any time, any place and on any device. About New Zealand Trade and Enterprise

On 1 July 2003, Industry New Zealand and Trade New Zealand will merge to form the new trade and economic development agency, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise. New Zealand Trade and Enterprise will be a single integrated agency delivering the services currently provided by Trade New Zealand and Industry New Zealand. The merger has come about in response to feedback from the business community about the need for an organisation that can provide seemless, flexible and responsive service delivery to businesses throughout their life cycle, from start-ups to internationally competitive companies.

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