Strong Response To New Business Development Strategy

  • Peter McCardle
Business Development

Over 160 detailed proposals have been received from organisations interested in running the Government's new Business Development Programme, which is set to kick off early next year.

The Ministry of Commerce has also received 10 detailed proposals from parties interested in providing the new National Business Information Service. This service will provide a single source of information about all the assistance available to small and medium size businesses.

Applications closed on November 13, and are now being evaluated.

The changes will replace the current Business Development Boards, which go out of existence at the end of this year.

Minister of Business Development Peter McCardle said today that he was delighted at the number of applications to run the two services, which will have a combined funding of approximately 12 million dollars a year.

"I am pleased that applications have come from a wide range of organisations, including the target groups representing Maori, Pacific Island organisations, and women."

The applications are being assessed by an evaluation team consisting of four members from the private sector, and two from the Ministry of Commerce. Final decisions are due before Christmas.

Mr McCardle said, "These moves are part of a complete change of focus for business development in New Zealand. The Government is replacing the grants-based focus of its assistance for small and medium size enterprises (SMEs), and will no longer be a hands-on provider. There will in future be a bottom-up approach, focussed on enhancing the management capability of SMEs. The delivery will come from experienced community providers, contracted by the Government.

"The second key element of the new approach is the setting up of the National Business Information Service. There is a clear need for a single pro-active way of delivering this information in a user-friendly way.

"For example we are planning that, as part of the new programme, there will be worksite visits to deliver information directly.

"I believe that these changes will be a more effective way of helping our small and medium size businesses flourish at a time when we need the strongest possible business response to the challenges of competing in global markets," Mr McCardle said.