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COMET helps businesses to circle the globe

20 November 2006

COMET helps businesses to circle the globe

New Zealand’s small and medium enterprises need better support from the private and public sectors if they want to grow their business through e-commerce, a new report shows.

Small Business Minister Lianne Dalziel today released the COMET Accelerator Action Research Project report outlining key barriers preventing small and medium enterprises (SMEs) from using e-commerce and broadband internet in New Zealand.

Lianne Dalziel said with e-commerce being an important facet of the Labour-led government’s economic transformation agenda, learning how to grow SMEs’ capability in this area was a priority.

“Key to economic transformation is identifying and removing the barriers preventing New Zealand companies from engaging and competing in the global economy. E-commerce is a medium that, once established, gives SMEs a low-cost means of entering world-wide markets.”

The project comprised 29 small firms, many of which had either little or no e-commerce capability, from around the country. The firms received subsidised e-commerce services and products, as well as mentoring, to enable them to develop e-commerce techniques to sell their products internationally. It forms part of the wider Central Online Management and Export Trade (COMET) project, the aim of which is to e-enable 2000 New Zealand SMEs.

Lianne Dalziel said the experiences of these firms provided a valuable resource and helped to create an ‘SME Blueprint’ for future work in this area.

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“New Zealand has a large number of great SMEs but many don’t know where to begin when it comes to setting up an e-commerce site. The COMET project is all about identifying the barriers and critical success factors so we can proactively address these and smooth the way forward”.

The project identified key barriers to e-commerce activity, including:

- Cost in time and money
- Access to suitable on-line banking facilities
- Difficulty in penetrating global markets
- Access to information on customs and other regulations
- General level of business capability of the firm
- Motivation levels of the participants

Lianne Dalziel said the next stage of the project is to assemble a suite of products and services comprising the necessary building blocks for SMEs to become e-enabled. This better coordination of the public and private sectors will help SMEs overcome barriers to e-commerce.


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