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The New Zealand SME Business Network reaches its goal

Media Release - Monday 9 December 2013

The New Zealand SME Business Network reaches its goal of 5,000 members by end of 2013

Today, the NZ SME Business Network reached an important milestone of 5,000 members continuing to build its profile as a professionally recognized network-of-influence and powerful voice in the SME ecosystem. The Network was founded in 2011 by Tenby Powell and has an aspirational vision to enable SMEs to contribute 45% of New Zealand’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by focusing on the underlying value of the small business economy. Currently SMEs contribute 38.6% to GDP.

The NZ SME Business Network LinkedIn group brings together SME owner / managers and advisors and provides an opportunity for them to network and collaborate on important issues such as business growth and compliance challenges.

The SME community has intimate knowledge on the changing landscape as well as the barriers and needs of a growing SME community making this an important forum with feedback loops directly into Government.

Powell is also Convener (Chair) of the Government appointed Small Business Development Group reporting to Hon Stephen Joyce via officials at the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE).

A two-way dialogue now exists between this group and the NZ SME Business Network making this a first for both small business owners and Government, and enabling real time feedback by owner/ managers on a range of planned Government initiatives in the small business sector.

In September this year the NZ SME Business Network partnered with the Icehouse, a leading business growth centre with a track record of success working with SMEs, to provide the group with additional resource, expertise and leadership. Powell, who has joined the Icehouse Board, says the Icehouse partnership has been instrumental in helping the network build its membership to 5,000 this year and will provide even greater support to ensure the group achieves its goal of amassing 10,000 members by the end of 2014.

"As the group continues to grow and greater support is provided, the SME eco-system is better positioned to become an even more significant contributor to the New Zealand economy”.

“Imagine if, through initiatives that lift small businesses up the value chain, we achieved our vision of contributing 45% of GDP. The value creation is not just economic; it also has significant positive social impacts”, says Powell.

About The NZ SME Business Network & The Icehouse The NZ SME Business Network was formed in recognition of the fact that 97.2% of all NZ businesses are SMEs (employing 19 or fewer people), yet get very limited support. The goal is provide support to SME Business owners and give them a voice to influence national policies that directly impact them. The group was founded by Tenby Powell in 2011 and has quickly grown to over 5,000 members. The Icehouse is where Kiwi businesses grow; through its expertise, networks and funding it helps Kiwi businesses and entrepreneurs grow. Owned by a charitable trust, The Icehouse has an altruistic purpose to lift the performance of New Zealand SME’s to improve the economy. The Icehouse recognises the need to transform the New Zealand economy and commits to helping develop the environment for entrepreneurship and business growth. Hosting the SME Network is part of its commitment to utilise its strong internal network, one of its core assets, to best help more business owners by sharing and connecting.


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