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Government shows support for SMEs

13 December 2005

Government shows support for SMEs

Small Business Minister Lianne Dalziel today announced the government's strong support for recommendations from the Small Business Advisory Group.

The government's response to the Advisory Group's first annual report on enhancing small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) growth was released by the Minister today.

"The government acknowledges the challenges facing our SMEs, as reported by the Group and I congratulate them on their report. We are working to address virtually all the issues, as we essentially support 18 of the 19 recommendations, if not in form, in substance."

The Small Business Advisory Group is an independent group comprising of nine people who own SMEs. Last year they produced their first annual report to government outlining how they believed government could enhance growth in the sector.

"SMEs are an important driver of economic growth. About 97 per cent of New Zealand businesses are in the SME sector and they accounted for 60 per cent of new jobs over the last five years. Our response to the group's recommendations shows that we are committed to helping SMEs grow, and I believe this will produce major benefits.” Lianne Dalziel said.

The Minister said that most of the recommendations have either already been implemented, or are being addressed. Responses to some of the key recommendations include:

- Additional funding for mentoring services including funding to assist SMEs establish Advisory Boards

- Upgrading www.biz.org.nz into a single point-of-entry portal providing for all business information needs

- Internal advocates for SMEs have been established in a number of departments inlucding Labour, IRD, ACC and MED to ensure SME interests are considered in policy development

- MED is currently examining ways the government can measure and publish costs of compliance, including the cumulative impact of regulations over time.

- Changes simplifying depreciation and the fringe benefit tax regime

- Establishment of a $40million seed co-investment fund designed to make it easier for SMEs with growth potential to access capital.

“All up, this is a very significant package of improvements that shows this government’s commitment to this important sector,” Lianne Dalziel said.

Copies of the full government response and the SBAG report are available on request or online, http://www.med.govt.nz/irdev/ind_dev/sbag/index.html

ENDS

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