Small business

We provide advice to the Minister for Small Business and secretariat services for the Small Business Council.

Small business in New Zealand

Small businesses of less than 20 employees are an important part of the New Zealand economy. According to the latest data from Statistics New Zealand, they account for:

  • 97% (487,602) of all enterprises
  • 29% (599,880) of all employees
  • an estimated 26% of New Zealand’s Gross Domestic Product.

Small Business Council

The Small Business Council was formed in 2018 for 12 months to provide advice to the Minister for Small Business on:

  • a segmented definition for the small business sector
  • a Small Business Strategy
  • the ongoing purpose and functions of the Council beyond the initial 12-month appointment
  • the establishment of a small business institute.

Read the Terms of Reference for the Small Business Council [PDF, 299 KB]

Results of the Small Business Council’s survey of small businesses [PDF, 285 KB]

In July 2019 the Small Business Council presented the Government with their ‘New Zealand Small Business Strategy: Empowering small businesses to aspire, succeed and thrive’, and their proposals for defining small business and appropriate support structures for the small business sector.

New Zealand Small Business Strategy: Empowering small businesses to aspire, succeed and thrive [PDF, 1.2 MB]

Defining Small Business [PDF, 485 KB]

Support Structures for the Small Business Sector [PDF, 472 KB]

In November 2019, after review and consultation, Cabinet agreed to an initial response to the New Zealand Small Business Strategy in the Cabinet paper ‘A Focus on Small Business’. The Cabinet paper provides Government’s strategic response to the Small Business Strategy and the Annex responds to the Small Business Council’s recommendations.

Cabinet paper: A Focus on Small Business, includes Annex 2: An initial response to the Small Business Council recommendations. [PDF, 886 KB]

Cabinet Economic Development Committee minute [PDF, 316 KB]

The government has released the initial response alongside a range of business.govt(external link) initiatives that will support the initial response.

In December 2019 the Minister for Small Business released the SBC strategy and announced other government decisions regarding small business policy.

Read the media statement on the Beehive website(external link)

Latest Council minutes

Read the latest minutes of the Small Business Council:

Small Business Council June 2019 Minutes [PDF, 286 KB]

Small Business Council May 2019 Minutes [PDF, 697 KB]

Small Business Council April 2019 Minutes [PDF, 98 KB]

Small Business Council March 2019 Minutes [PDF, 108 KB]

Small Business Council February 2019 Minutes [PDF, 111 KB]

Small Business Council December 2018 Minutes [PDF, 109 KB]

Small Business Council November 2018 Minutes [PDF, 740 KB]

Small Business Council October 2018 Minutes [PDF, 157 KB]

Small Business Council September 2018 Minutes  [PDF, 581 KB]

Small Business Council August 2018 Minutes [PDF, 116 KB]

More information

For more information on New Zealand's small businesses read our Small Business report and factsheet series:

Small Business Report and Factsheet 2017

New Zealand's Support for Small Business has more information on government agencies' support for small businesses:

New Zealand's Support for Small Business [PDF 5.1MB](external link)

The Small Business Development Group was dis-established in 2017. Read their report and the Government response:

Small Business Development Group 2016 report [PDF, 689 KB] 

Government's response to the Small Business Development Group's 2016 report [PDF, 472 KB]