Working towards ‘the most digitally engaged small business sector in the world’
Government has a vision for New Zealand to have the most digitally engaged small business sector in the world. We want to support more small business owners to digitally transform their operating models, not only through the adoption of digital hardware and software, but through process changes, new skills and capabilities, access to capital and having deeper insight into their business through data.
To support this vision, MBIE launched the small business Digital Boost programme at the end of 2020. It was designed in partnership with industry experts to ensure it meets the needs of Kiwi small business owners, and MBIE continues to work closely with small business owners and the private sector on the delivery of the programme.
Small business digital support package
On Thursday 24 September 2020 Small Business Minister Stuart Nash and Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis announced details of a $20 million digital package to support small businesses and tourism operators to transition digitally in the COVID-19 world. The funding period was to 30 June 2021.
The $20 million package included:
- $10 million specifically for small businesses, announced in Budget 2020 (specifically the COVID-19 Recovery and Response Fund (CRRF)).
- $10 million as part of the Tourism Recovery Package: $5 million to boost digital capability in the broader tourism sector, and $5 million for Qualmark to help their registered tourism operators develop digital strategies and skills. Please note the latter $5 million was funded directly to Qualmark.
Following evaluation of the pilot programme and its resounding success (measured as positive impact for people participating in Digital Boost Educate), funding for the Digital Boost programme was provided during Budget 2021 for an additional two years, through to 30 June 2023.
MBIE continues to work with the Minister’s Small Business Advisors and Digital Industry Leaders to ensure the design of the Digital Boost initiatives is driven by the needs of business, and the initiatives are useful, accessible, and successful in building digital confidence for small businesses.
Digital Boost – Key initiatives
The key Digital Boost programme initiatives to date include:
Digital Boost Spotlight Series: a series of real world, in-depth video case studies where small business owners, who have recently transformed their business by adopting digital tools and digital ways of working, share their experiences.
Watch real world video case studies(external link) — business.govt.nz website
Digital Boost Educate: a free digital skills training platform available to any small business owner (or their employees) who wants to boost or accelerate their digital transformation. The training platform offers over 500 video tutorials and Q&A sessions, daily live workshops with experts and live helpdesk support 8am–7pm Monday to Friday. The Digital Boost Educate solution has been designed as a full wrap-around response to build small business owner knowledge, skills, confidence, and trust in adopting digital tools for business resilience and growth.
Sign up for Digital Boost(external link) — Digital Boost website
Digital Boost Directory – The Right Tool: a private sector initiative that brings together relevant digital tools, technologies, products and services, geared toward helping Kiwi businesses find the most relevant digital tools for their business needs.
Find out more about The Right Tool(external link) — The Right Tool website
Digital Boost Alliance Aotearoa: a collaborative effort between the government and larger-scale private sector organisations focused on motivating and inspiring small businesses, individuals, and communities across New Zealand to lift their use of digital technologies. Each Alliance partner has committed to providing specific offers or services to help businesses succeed in their digital journey.
Find out more about the Digital Boost Alliance(external link) — Digital Boost Alliance website
Digital Boost Checkable: an extension of Digital Boost Educate, the Checkable solution is focused on supporting small businesses to prioritise where they should focus their time and effort on digitalising their business for the best return. The solution will provide business owners with a customised Digital Action Plan, enabling them to have more informed discussions with technology tool providers, digital and business advisors, and lenders as appropriate.
Innovation is at the forefront of our ambition for the Digital Boost Checkable solution. In what we believe is a world-first for small businesses, the Checkable solution will harness the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Natural Language Processing (NLP), as well as API (application programming interface) integration, business diagnostics and data analytics to deliver these personalised Digital Action Plans.
The Digital Boost Checkable solution is also being delivered in partnership with the private sector, and the first phase of the Digital Boost Checkable solution goes live on 1 April 2022.
In May 2021, Better for Business (B4B) conducted research into the health of kiwi businesses in the context of Covid-19. A second wave of research was conducted in December 2021 to test what had changed and provide a deep dive on how digitally enabled businesses are.
The field work was conducted by independent agency Research New Zealand (RNZ), with a total of 2,280 respondents. The results are weighted to be representative of all NZ businesses by both industry and size. The topline results are presented in the below factsheets.
Press releases and other media
25 MAY 2021: New public-private effort on digital uptake(external link) — Beehive website
20 MAY 2021: Backing small business as economy recovers(external link) — Beehive website
11 NOV 2021: Prime Minister opens APEC CEO Summit(external link) — Beehive website
Keep up to date
For industry participants interested in further updates, please subscribe to our Small Business Digital Boost newsletter.