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SME’s strong contribution to economy continues

Hon Clayton Cosgrove
Minister for Small Business

27 August 2008 Media Statement

SME’s strong contribution to economy continues

A new report has reconfirmed the strong contribution made to the New Zealand economy from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), said the Minister for Small Business Clayton Cosgrove today.

Mr Cosgrove's comments follow the release today of the Ministry of Economic Development's 2008 report, “SMEs in New Zealand: Structure and Dynamics”. SMEs are defined in New Zealand as businesses with fewer than twenty employees and are represented across the economy in New Zealand.

Mr Cosgrove said the report shows that the number of SMEs increased by 2 percent between February 2006 and February 2007 and that the total number of people employed by SMEs increased by 18% between 2001 and 2007 to 594,410.

"It is very encouraging to see new companies starting up, and that many small business owners are experiencing enough growth to need to take more people on. The high number of SMEs makes them important to the economy, but it is their potential for growth that makes them vital to the government's economic transformation agenda."

The 2008 report also shows:
• 97% of enterprises employ 19 or fewer people.
• 89% of enterprises employ 5 or fewer people.
• SMEs accounted for 31% of all employees.

Mr Cosgrove said the figures showed that SMEs are in good health. “We are not seeing sudden changes in the make-up and performance of SMEs but instead there is steady and sustainable growth. SMEs are the backbone of a vibrant economy and their success directly correlates to the economic wellbeing of our nation. The government is working hard with the SME sector to ensure that this growth continues.”

The 2008 Structure and Dynamics report is the ninth in the series. The latest report sees a move away from the methodologies used in the previous reports due to the introduction of a new prototype dataset, the Longitudinal Business Frame. The new series now covers all industries and includes an expanded coverage of New Zealand businesses. The Business Frame makes it possible to identify with greater certainty the number of businesses starting up, closing and continuing to operate.

“This report shows the ongoing success of business in New Zealand. As both Minister for Minister for Small Business and Minister for Sport and Recreation I firmly believe we should be celebrating the successes of our businesses people, who keep our economy strong, as we do our sporting heroes.”


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