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Start, better manage and grow small businesses

20 May 2008

Start, better manage and grow small businesses

A new information roadshow aimed at helping small businesses start up, better manage themselves and grow, with help from the government, will be launched in Dunedin tonight by the Minister for Small Business, Clayton Cosgrove.

Mr Cosgrove will tonight also launch a new publication, Start, Manage and Grow Your Business, which provides case studies of business people who solved their business problems with help from government agencies. “The people in these case-studies want to share their stories so other business owners won’t have to say, I wish I’d known about that,” Mr Cosgrove said.

He said the event has been inspired by the feedback from small business owners around the country who have said they are aware that government assistance exists but often, because of the volume of information available, don’t know where to find it or what exactly they can get.

“There is a wide range of information and services available for small businesses, but bringing it all together can be hard,” said Mr Cosgrove. “In response we have gathered the key services and programmes provided by the government into one useful publication.”

Joining Mr Cosgrove at the launch will be representatives of the key government agencies relevant for small businesses. Local business people will be encouraged to ask questions, solve problems and find out about what is available.

“The Dunedin information event is the first of 12 being held around the country. We want to get out into the regions and talk with small firms face-to-face so they can maximise the potential of their businesses.”

Mr Cosgrove said small businesses are the backbone of the New Zealand economy, accounting for 97% of all firms and employing 31 percent of the workforce.

“Small businesses are key partners in the government’s efforts to transform New Zealand’s economy,” Mr Cosgrove said. “That is why we will be on the road ensuring businesses know how and where to find the government help they need to succeed. “

Mr Cosgrove said a lot of good work is being done for small businesses by all the agencies and, as one example, points to the 95,000 people who have logged on to the recently developed, web-based business portal,

He also cites the hard work that went into maintaining New Zealand’s second place ranking in the World Bank ease of doing Business Survey 2007.

“We are in a strong position this year to take the top spot because of the excellent work being done by the Companies Office for example,” he said. “As a result of their work, business incorporation and tax registration - a process which 3 years ago took 11 days to complete - now takes less than one hour.”
Mr Cosgrove acknowledged the recent closure of three large businesses in Dunedin despite the strong New Zealand economy, saying if anything, it reinforced the importance of supporting the growth and development of the many smaller businesses in the local region. There are 22,478 small businesses in the Otago region, and they account for a third of Otago’s total employment.

The information seminars will be held in regional centres from Whangarei to Invercargill between 20 May and 26 June 2008. Mr Cosgrove and his colleagues - Internal Affairs Minister, Rick Barker, Statistics Minister, Darren Hughes and Tourism Minister, Damien O’Connor - will attend most of the events as will the key government agencies, including Inland Revenue, ACC, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, Department of Labour, Ministry of Social Development, Statistics New Zealand, the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology, Ministry for the Environment and the Ministry of Economic Development.

Tonight’s event will be held at the Hutton Theatre, Otago Museum between 5 pm and 7 pm. Media are welcome to attend.

Background Information

What is a small business?
The Ministry of Economic Development’s standard definition of a Small to Medium size business (SME) is an enterprise with 19 or fewer employees. This is not a hard and fast rule. For example, the latest Statistics New Zealand Research & Development Survey distinguishes between "smaller" businesses (those with less than 50 employees) and "larger" businesses (50 or more employees).

Why are Small Businesses important?
97 percent of enterprises in New Zealand are SMEs. They account for nearly 40 percent of our total value-added output and provide around 31 percent of our employment. The government recognises that, while individually small in size, SMEs are an important component of the New Zealand economy, making them key players in the economic transformation of New Zealand.

Why are the Small Business Information events necessary?
The events are in response to Small Business concerns that finding information about government programmes can be difficult especially because of the volume of information and assistance available. As a consequence, many small businesses remain unaware of the assistance available, including the recently developed web-based, business portal
These events are being held in the following regional centres: Dunedin on 20 May; Blenheim on 27 May; Palmerston North on 29 May; Hastings on 4 June; Otaki on 5 June; New Plymouth on 10 June; Whangarei on 12 June; Taupo on 17 June; Queenstown and Invercargill on 19 June; Cambridge on 24 June and Nelson on 26 June. They are aimed at raising the levels of knowledge small businesses have about the services government agencies provide.

Which agencies are participating in the Information events?

Inland Revenue, ACC, Department of Labour, Ministry for the Environment, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, Ministry for Social Development, Statistics New Zealand, Foundation for Research, Science and Technology and Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs and Ministry of Economic Development. However, not every agency is attending all the events.

These agencies also contributed case-studies to the publication, Start, Manage or Grow your Business which will be launched at the first event in Dunedin on 20 May.

What is the publication about?

The publication is a series of case-studies about the real problems faced by business owners as they start, manage or grow their small business. In the centre of the booklet is a quick-guide that identifies which government agency can help with standard business problems. It also includes contact details for key government agencies and Biz centres; local Chambers of Commerce and Economic Development Agencies and the web address for the one-stop shop for government and private provider information,


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