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Launch Of The Great Business Venture Speech

TO BE PRESENTED 6PM 7 March, 2000
Parkroyal Hotel - Wellington


I'm delighted to be here this evening for the launch of the Great New Zealand Business Venture in New Zealand.

This competition is an exciting initiative designed to kick-start New Zealand business and it's fantastic to see the support it is getting.

I applaud the fact that business leaders have taken the initiative themselves and that they recognise we all have a role in driving New Zealand forward.

The programme for the Great New Zealand Business Venture is an exciting one with several standout features.

One of particular note is the idea to develop centres of innovation - like Silicon Valley or Boston's Route 128. By linking venture participants to coaches and like-minded entrepreneurs we will see the formation of communities based on a collaborative, yet competitive environment.

I am also particularly interested in the programme's emphasis on new technology businesses such as ecommerce and biotechnology. There is a real focus here on start-ups and growth phase businesses.

This direction has the enthusiastic backing of government as, like you, we are committed to developing the nation's skills and growing industry and jobs.

Indeed, the creation of jobs through better support for small businesses was one of Labour's seven key election pledges.

As a government, we are determined to adopt a more strategic approach to economic development with government, business and the community working in partnership to promote growth and jobs.

We are determined to provide practical support that will help the economy grow and speed up the transformation to an economy based increasingly on knowledge, skills and technology.

That support will include:
 Better access to finance, including venture capital.
 Assisting the growth of industry clusters through our new local economic assistance fund.
 A single electronic gateway to government so businesses can get better access to information and government tenders.
 Encouraging small businesses to export through an expanded Tradenz and the provision of new export guarantee schemes.
 Promotion of "incubators" to allow small businesses operating in similar industries to share some of their costs or pool equipment and information
 Better tax treatment for research and development and faster depreciation for new capital investment in technology.
 Provision of reasonably priced business audits, skills training and grants to investigate new products and markets

We're also establishing an industry development agency called Industry New Zealand which will provide assistance to New Zealand business.

Work has begun on identifying the various kinds of assistance and suitable recipients.

Both Industry New Zealand and the New Zealand Business Venture have some key characteristics in common – drive, initiative and the desire to succeed.

As the global economy continues to gather speed, we must nurture and encourage innovation and ideas for they will be the keys to our future success.

We must excite young and enterprising New Zealanders and convince them that we can create a dynamic, world leading economy which provides real opportunities.

That's why initiatives such as the Great New Zealand Business Venture are so important.

This competition will stimulate entrepreneurial activity around the country and allow innovative business ideas to take off.

And, if the very impressive statistics we've heard about from overseas are repeated here, we can expect to see dozens of new businesses formed across New Zealand in the next few years.

That means new jobs, more exports and greater revenue, not to mention the fostering of innovative ideas and creative solutions.

Activities like the Great New Zealand Business Venture, backed by proactive, supportive Government policies, enables government, business and research sectors to work together to establish a solid platform for the future growth of New Zealand. By working together we can leverage our combined skills to the best advantage – which is very necessary in a small economy.

I wholeheartedly applaud this venture and hope all of you will encourage as many people as possible to enter this exciting competition.


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