The role of small business in the economy is to be enhanced with a new strategy to drive performance and better connect small and medium enterprises with government, large businesses and research institutions.
Small Business Minister Stuart Nash today announced the appointment of a 13-member Small Business Council to advise the government on strategic opportunities for improving the performance of the sector.
The Small Business Council has a tightly focused mandate and a fixed term of one year in which to deliver.
“The Council will help the government develop a strategy to drive improvement and innovation in the small business sector. It will play an important role in lifting the performance of New Zealand’s many small enterprises,” Mr Nash said.
“I have purposely cast the net wide for the members of the council and deliberately sought out some of New Zealand’s largest enterprises to play a role, in recognition of the connections and networks that are vital to helping small businesses thrive.”
Firms and organisations like Xero, The Icehouse, Fonterra, Chambers of Commerce and the Sustainable Business Council are represented.
The council includes representatives from small and large businesses, financial institutions, academia, education providers, tax experts and government agencies.
“Significant shifts in technology, the global trading environment, and domestic policy settings always present challenges for businesses,” he said.
“The time has come to establish a specialist group to consider some of these strategic issues over a longer time-frame, and pull together advice from a range of institutions and practitioners.
“It will pay particular attention to existing government priorities including regional and infrastructure development, the digital economy, trade and export growth, tax policy, skills development, access to finance and streamlining government processes.
“Small business is the backbone of the economy, making up 97 per cent of New Zealand businesses and employing over 600,000 Kiwis. My priorities for the Small Business portfolio have focused on modernising the way we do business.
“I want to make sure SMEs are well placed to maximise future opportunities and play their part in helping create a sustainable, productive and inclusive New Zealand economy. We want to see our SMEs thrive.
“The Small Business Council brings together some of the best talent from across the spectrum and I look forward to working together to develop a small business strategy that best reflects the needs of the sector.”
Mr Nash says the council will take a bird’s-eye look at the issues and opportunities for small business and provide insights and recommendations for a government strategy.
It will also provide advice on whether there is a case for establishing a Small Business Institute within a New Zealand tertiary institution. Mr Nash has now formally disestablished the Small Business Development Group, which has been in recess since June 2017.
The Small Business Council will be chaired by Tenby Powell, who has a long history in the SME sector. The deputy chair is Dr Deborah Shepherd, a distinguished academic from Auckland University. It will meet monthly.
The names of the Council members are as follows.
- Terry Baucher: Director of Baucher Consulting Ltd
- Rachel Brown: CEO/Founder of Sustainable Business Network
- Anthony Buick-Constable: Deputy Chief Executive and General Counsel of NZ Bankers Association
- Nicole Buisson: Small Business Director, Xero
- Jim Gordon: Director of Jim Gordon Tax Ltd
- Andy Hamilton: CEO The Icehouse Ltd, Director of FaceMe Limited
- Jerry He: Chairman of Asia Pacific MSMEs Trade Coalition
- Allison Lawton: Chief Executive of Rotorua Chamber of Commerce
- Tenby Powell: Director of Hunter Powell Investment Partners
- Alison Brewer Shearer: General Manager, Fonterra Shareholders’ Council
- Dr Deborah Shepherd: Senior Lecturer – University of Auckland Business School, Facilitator at the Icehouse
- Tania Siladi: Co-Owner/Director of Dragonfly Hospitality Group Limited, Co-Owner/Director of Asian Food Republic
- Leeann Watson: Chief Executive of Canterbury Employer’s Chamber of Commerce