A new initiative is being launched by the Office of Ethnic Affairs
to improve the contribution ethnic businesses make to the New Zealand economy.
Ninety-seven percent of businesses in New Zealand employ fewer than 20 people and many of these small to medium size enterprises (SMEs) are estimated to be run by ethnic minorities.
The more efficient and productive they are, the more efficient and productive New Zealand is. However, many ethnic business people find it difficult to understand the business culture and regulations within New Zealand.
It means there is often little connection with mainstream businesses, and market opportunities are going untapped.
To change that the Office of Ethnic Affairs (OEA) is creating a platform to enable ethnic SMEs to easily make connections with mainstream businesses. This is expected to be mutually beneficial — mainstream SMEs are expected to gain improved pathways to overseas markets by drawing upon the local and offshore connections of ethnic SMEs in New Zealand.
The Office of Ethnic Affairs has joined in a strategic partnership agreement with ANZ New Zealand as well as working with other organisations including Economic Development Agencies New Zealand.
“Ethnic small and medium sized businesses are a latent and potent force for the economy, whose contribution towards economic rejuvenation remains untapped,” says Mervin Singham, Office of Ethnic Affairs director.
“We’re delighted to be working with the ANZ and other partners to become a catalyst for unleashing improved economic performance.
“It’s essential that government develops strong connections with the private sector to help provide an impetus for new business relationships, to unlock the potential.”
ANZ managing director business banking, Fred Ohlsson says “This project is all about making connections, whether it’s connecting migrant entrepreneurs to New Zealand business networks, introducing investors to New Zealand business opportunities, or finding new markets for New Zealand exports.
“At ANZ we specialise in helping new businesses get started and grow, and we’re also the only New Zealand bank with strong networks throughout 28 markets across Asia Pacific. It’s an excellent fit with our business and we believe it has the potential to deliver considerable economic benefits for New Zealand.”
The Office of Ethnic Affair’s new project consists of providing:
■ An online database to connect ethnic businesses with their mainstream colleagues and provide
‘how to’ guides about doing business in New Zealand
■ A series of workshops about undertaking business in New Zealand
■ A ‘how to’ business directory providing information about doing business in NZ
■ A series of workshops around the country to connect ethnic businesses to regional key players
■ A two-day business symposium in 2012 developing engagementand connections.