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New initiative launched to support small businesses through guidance

The first event in the Kiwi Business Boost series of regional workshops and online tools has been launched in Wairoa by Stuart Nash.

New initiative launched to support small businesses through guidance
“The Business Boost initiative combines face to face guidance and coaching with tailored support delivered online,” says Mr. Nash. Image Credit: Pixabay

A new initiative to better support small businesses through hands-on mentoring and advice has been launched by the Minister for Small Business.

The first event in the Kiwi Business Boost series of regional workshops and online tools has been launched in Wairoa by Stuart Nash. "The Business Boost initiative combines face to face guidance and coaching with tailored support delivered online," says Mr. Nash.

"More than 50 free events will offer help with some of the biggest challenges business faces: cash flow, staff, sustainability, legal obligations, and health and wellbeing.

"The Business Boost initiative is an entirely new concept. It has been researched, tested and delivered with help from more than 60 partners from across the public sector, business, not-for-profits, and industry groups. Along with feedback and support from these partners, the concepts have been tested with more than 200 small businesses from across New Zealand.

"Despite the growth in online technology over the past 20 years, some of the fundamentals of running a small business have not changed. We know it can be really tough. Business owners need to manage customers, staff, sales, and legal obligations, usually on top of family commitments.

"Business owners often say they don't know who to turn to for advice or just to talk through their day to day issues. A recent survey by Xero shows fewer than half of small businesses celebrate milestones, or try to manage long hours, or regularly thank the staff.

"In any workplace, whether it's for the self-employed or staff in larger organisations, people benefit from talking about health and wellbeing, managing stress, and ways to seek help. We are encouraging businesses to build their support network and seek out business mentors.

"Small businesses in the regions can be hard to reach, and often say they feel isolated. The Boost initiative is a pilot scheme to see if we can break through that barrier.

"During November a series of events across Wairoa, Waipawa, Napier, and Hastings will focus on five core areas where we can help:

Getting started with a business, through planning, research, and best structures;

Managing growth, through the use of technology and better access to finance;

Keeping on top of risk and operations, such as health, insurance, and intellectual property;

Best practice for tax and accounting;

Staff management, including leadership skills and retaining top performers; and

Sustainability and wellbeing, including mental health and environmental concerns.

"The World Bank says we are number one for ease of doing business. The International Monetary Fund forecasts economic growth here of 2.5% in 2019 and 2.7% in 2020, well ahead of our main trading partners. The Washington-based Tax Foundation ranks us at number two in the world for the most competitive and neutral tax system.

"Nevertheless I know it can be hard to run a small business. We have a lot of work underway across government that will make a big difference.

"There are a number of business-friendly measures we are putting in place that will help small and medium enterprises.

"We are making progress on faster payment terms and e-Invoicing, there are changes to the Fair Trading Act to stop small businesses being exploited by larger enterprises, the 90-day trial period is in place for businesses with fewer than 20 staff, and we are pushing for a fair deal at the fuel pump through the Commerce Commission's work. The Provincial Growth Fund is also revitalizing economic development in the regions.

"We are also making sure the wider economy is in good shape by tackling some of the long-term challenges facing the whole business community. This work includes:

Boosting productivity, including through the R&D tax incentive and changes to business tax settings to make it easier to innovate and get start-ups off the ground

Cutting red tape by reforming the RMA after the previous Government failed to act, and reforming the Building Act to get more houses built

Increasing transport infrastructure investment across the country, and supporting the construction industry through record hospital and school build programs

Fixing our electricity market by leveling the playing field and boosting competition

Negotiating new trade deals, including with the EU, to open up new markets for our exporters

"The 60 organisations providing expert advice and workshops during the Boost are sharing their time and knowledge free of charge. From next year, we will incorporate lessons from the Hawke's Bay events to roll out the initiative to other parts of the country," Mr. Nash says.

(With Inputs from New Zealand Government Press Release)



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