Small enterprise

Small enterprises of up to 20 employees are an important part of the New Zealand economy.

According to the latest data from Statistics New Zealand, they account for:

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

For more information on New Zealand's small businesses view the Small Business Report and Factsheet information on our website.

We provide advice on issues that are important to small and medium enterprises (SMEs). We also provide secretariat services for the Small Business Development Council.

For information on the support different government agencies have available for small business view New Zealand's Support for Small Business [PDF 5.1MB]

Small Business Council

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

  • a segmented definition for the SME sector
  • a small business strategy
  • the ongoing purpose and functions of the Council beyond the initial twelve month appointment
  • establishing a Small Business Institute to be located in a New Zealand tertiary institution.

Read the Terms of Reference for the Small Business Council.

To contact the Secretariat for the Small Business Council you can email smallbusiness@mbie.govt.nz.

The Small Business Council is made up of thirteen members and four government advisors:

Tenby Powell (Chair) invests in and grows small businesses. He serves on the APEC Business Advisory Council and is co-chair of the Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSME) Working Group. He founded the New Zealand SME Business Network in 2009 with the purpose of giving small business owners a voice through the creation of a connected network. Tenby also serves on the Sector Workplace Engagement Programme (SWEP) and was previous convenor of the Small Business Development Group.

Dr Deborah Shepherd (Deputy Chair) is a senior lecturer at the University of Auckland Business School. As a researcher she has a number of academic and practitioner outputs including articles, case studies and a book written for SME owner managers. Deborah was part of the design team that developed the Owner Manager Programme in 2001 and continues to deliver these programmes as part of the Icehouse business growth initiatives. She is a director, owner, investor, or advisor to a number of businesses.

Terry Baucher is a small business owner and director of a specialist tax consulting firm. He is an expert in tax and advises a range of businesses and organisations including many small businesses. Terry was on the Board of the Accountants and Tax Agents Institute of New Zealand from 2010- 2016 and has a keen interest in better tax policy for small businesses. He regularly speaks to media on tax issues and co-authored the book “Tax and Fairness” published in May 2017.

Alison Brewer is General Manager of the Fonterra Shareholders’ Council, an elected body of Fonterra farmers representing the interests of all Fonterra farmer shareholders as suppliers, owners and investors. Previously Alison was a senior lawyer in Fonterra’s legal team, and has spent 13 years in law firms advising on corporate and commercial matters. Throughout her career Alison has been exposed to the practicalities and challenges facing small businesses. Her experience in governance includes advising company boards and chairing a school board of trustees. She has extensive experience working in and leading teams, and understanding, managing and navigating multi-stakeholder environments.

Rachel Brown ONZM has a strong background in the small business sector. As CEO and Founder of the Sustainable Business Network, she has developed expertise in business advice, guidance and training about sustainability. Rachel has recently been appointed to the World Wild Life Fund Board and has participated in MBIE’s Business Reference Group. She was recently invited to be on the Reference Panel for Treasury’s new Green Investment Fund.

Antony Buick-Constable is Deputy Chief Executive and General Counsel of the New Zealand Bankers Association. He has an appreciation and understanding of small business matters relating to the banking industry. Previously, Antony gained extensive experience in the banking industry as part of the in-house legal team at BNZ. Antony is a qualified barrister and solicitor and graduated in Law from Victoria University.

Nicole Buisson is Small Business Director at Xero. She has over 16 years of experience in growth strategy, start-up acceleration, business development and product development working across the software, telecommunications, finance and private equity industries. Her early career was spent in Silicon Valley covering the market for venture capital financing of tech start-ups and her current focus is on facilitating small business access to financial services to increase productivity.

Jim Gordon started his own tax consultancy after having worked in the Government policy environment for thirty years. He has an awareness of small business compliance issues and the trade-offs necessary to achieve the balance between compliance costs and effective law. He has in-depth knowledge of the tax system and its practical application to SMEs, and specialist primary sector taxation knowledge and a wider awareness of primary sector compliance issues.

Andy Hamilton is CEO of The Icehouse which is a New Zealand organisation focused on unleashing the potential of Kiwi business owners and entrepreneurs. The Icehouse works with start-ups, investors, owners of SMEs and their staff together with advisors, supporters and their families to enable this potential to be achieved.

Jerry He is a small business owner in the food manufacturing industry. He is Chair of the Asia-Pacific MSME Trade Coalition and Chair of the New Zealand Green Industry Association. He has particular knowledge of food manufacturing, food technology, online and offline distribution channels such as Alibaba Group, China Shipping and Walmart. Jerry assists small businesses to obtain import/export advice, access to distribution channels and investment capital from China.

Allison Lawton is owner and managing director of a small management consultancy company that develops, drives and manages business improvement and development, change management and turn-around. She is CEO of the Rotorua Chamber of Commerce and has a history of involvement with the tourism industry and Māori business networks. She has a successful career in senior leadership responsible for the delivery of strategic direction and results to governance boards.

Tania Siladi is the founder and co-owner of four small businesses in Wellington in the hospitality industry. She has extensive business experience in finance, marketing and public relations, both internationally and in New Zealand. She has mentored youth entrepreneurs under the Young Enterprise Scheme since 2017, and has been involved in community work involving fashion and Chinese sport and culture.

Leeann Watson is the Chief Executive of the Canterbury Employer’s Chamber of Commerce providing a strong voice and advocacy for business in the Canterbury region. Leeann interacts with the business community at all levels and across all sectors. She has many years’ experience in the corporate sector in international trade, sponsorship and event management, project management and working in partnership with both local and central government.

Paul Dansted (Government Advisor) is the Director Food Regulation in New Zealand Food Safety, Ministry for Primary Industries. The Food Regulation directorate is responsible for developing food production, processing, testing, and import and export standards. Paul has worked in policy, operations, science, and regulatory roles in the public sector. He has also contributed to and led development of international food standards. Paul has a strong interest in evidence-based decision-making. He also wants to ensure that regulation development takes a ‘service design’ approach so that it can be readily understood and implemented by food businesses.

Karen English (Government Advisor) is the Policy Manager for Government Procurement, MBIE. Karen has an in-depth understanding of the Government’s Procurement Policy Framework and the Government Rules of Sourcing. She led the negotiation of NZ’s accession to the World Trade Organisation Government Procurement Agreement as well as the procurement commitments in many of New Zealand’s free trade agreements. Previously, Karen was a partner in a small legal firm representing subcontractors in construction contract and tender disputes.

Matthew Ritchie (Government Advisor) is Segmentation Lead at New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE). He ensures that NZTE works with the best possible exporting companies for the benefit of the economy. Previously, Matt was Trade Commissioner working directly with exporters to help them grow; and Customer Director for the IT and Services sector working with a large number of small businesses trying to rapidly scale and compete in international markets.

Keith Taylor (Government Advisor) has been with Inland Revenue for over thirty years where he is a policy manager in the policy and strategy division. One of the areas Keith leads is the small and medium enterprise sector, and his work seeks to improve compliance costs for this sector.

Protecting businesses and consumers from unfair commercial practices

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) is considering whether there is a need for additional protections for businesses and consumers against unfair commercial practices, and is seeking your feedback.

You can find out more information on the have your say page.

Other information on small and medium sized enterprises

Small Business Development Group 2016 report [PDF 689KB]

Government's response to the Small Business Development Group's 2016 report [PDF 473KB]

Small Business Factsheet 2016 [PDF 1MB]

Small Business Factsheet 2015 [PDF 1.1MB]

Small Business Factsheet 2014 [PDF 1.1MB] 

Structure and Dynamics of New Zealand SMEs [PDF 1.9MB]

Government releases and speeches relating to small business