New Business Development Programme Starts

  • Peter McCardle
Business Development

Business Development Minister Peter McCardle said today he was delighted to announce details of the Government's new business development programme, BIZ, which is starting up around the country.

"There will be two parts to it : free management training is being made available to help businesses raise the quality of their management, and there will also be a business information service starting in April. Government is providing funding of more than $12 million per annum.

"47 organisations will deliver the programme, which is targeting the many small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) that make up around 85 per cent of New Zealand businesses. They also account for a large percentage of jobs, and that's why giving them a helping hand is extremely important," Mr McCardle said.

"The second major element of the BIZ programme is BIZinfo, a national business information service which will start up soon. It will provide comprehensive, one-stop access to information about all the assistance available to help businesses do better.

The programme replaces the former Business Development Boards. The Ministry of Commerce will manage its delivery, including quality assurance monitoring and spot checks to ensure standards are being met.

"Improving the quality of management, rather than providing grants, is seen by the Government as the best and most cost-effective way of helping New Zealand's businesses to grow and succeed," the Minister said.

Examples of the services that will be provided under the programme include:

  • workshops, seminars, forums and mentoring 
  • strategic planning 
  • networking, IT, accounting and cashflow training 
  • business needs assessment 
  • financial forecasting, HR management and legal compliance training.

The 47 providers have won their contracts in a competitive process that attracted a great many applications. They are proven providers whose proposals were thoroughly scrutinised by an independent team of analysts.

Some services will operate regionally, others nationwide.

"Although the services will be available to all small to medium size businesses, particular emphasis will be given to three community sectors where there is a great need to develop viable businesses: Maori, women and Pacific communities.

"Many of the providers are familiar names, and include the Employers' and Manufacturers' Association, the Open Polytechnic, the Federation of Maori Authorities, and the Waipareira Trust.

"I am confident that these two innovations will give a big boost to the performance of large numbers of New Zealand businesses," Mr McCardle concluded.