The Council, formed in August to advise the government on strategic opportunities for improving the performance of the sector, met for the fourth time in Auckland this week (7 November).
The Council has identified four key themes to focus on in the development of a strategy that needs to provide real solutions and support for small businesses in the future.
Small Business Council Chair Tenby Powell says issues around capital and access to finance, management capability and workforce, compliance and enablers, and innovation and sustainability have been identified as priority work areas.
“The Council has covered a lot of ground in the weeks since its formation,” Mr Powell said.
“We’ve taken a bird’s-eye look at the current landscape and the issues small businesses are facing. We have heard from a range of government agencies, businesses and stakeholders like the Tax Working Group, Xero and the Treasury and we have confirmed how the Living Standards Framework will be applied in our work.
“We are now increasing our focus on how small businesses can be better supported to thrive in a future where the changing nature of global trade, rapid development in technology, and changing Government priorities will make for a different operating environment.”
Smaller firms make up 97 per cent of all businesses and employ over 600,000 people, and play an incredibly important role in New Zealand’s economy.
“Supporting improvements to the environment in which businesses operate will have a direct impact on those who run them, including their families, their local communities, and the wider New Zealand economy. We will now be looking to engage with small businesses and other stakeholders as our work progresses,” Mr Powell said.
Mr Powell said the Council welcomed the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Council’s commitment to SMEs as well.
“It’s great to see the Business Advisory Council recognises the importance of the SME sector and we look forward to both councils working collaboratively to support our small businesses to thrive.”
The Small Business Council has been convened for one year and will report back to the Minister for Small Business Stuart Nash with a future-focused small business strategy to inform Government policy and initiatives.
It will report its findings in August 2019.