Jacqui Dean –
As Small Business Minister, I am a passionate advocate for small businesses in New Zealand, including our ethnic business communities.
The National-led government values the contribution that Indian small businesses make in New Zealand and I appreciate the challenges that you face.
Just last month I was in Auckland visiting small businesses in Manukau with National List MP Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi and I met with a range of Indian small businesses including food producers, manufacturers and retailers.
This visit reinforced to me that small businesses in the Indian community are as diverse as the wider economy.
I am committed to traveling throughout New Zealand talking to as many small business owners as possible.
It is important all business owners have the chance to interact with government to share their experiences and ideas.
Small Business Roadshow
One of my main projects this year is the ‘Small Business Roadshow,’ where Government agencies come together with small business owners to talk about their experiences and where we can support them.
Last November, we held a specific roadshow event in Auckland for the Indian business community. This was well attended and focused specifically on areas which affect the Indian business community such as exporting, importing and hospitality.
This was such a great event that we are expanding it and this year we are holding a Chinese business community event so that other ethnic communities can have the same opportunity.
Indian Newslink Indian Business Awards
The Indian Newslink Indian Business Awards have been an integral part of the Indian business community for 10 years. This event has recognised small businesses owned, managed and franchised by people of Indian origin throughout New Zealand.
It is great to see these businesses having the chance to be recognised for the contribution they make to our communities.
This event has been a must attend event for a number of Ministers since National has been in government. Former Prime Minister John Key, Prime Minister Bill English, Finance Minister Steven Joyce, Ethnic Communities Minister Judith Collins, Tertiary Education Minister Paul Goldsmith and the then Ethnic Communities Minister Sam Lotu-liga have all attended in recent years.
They have talked highly about the evening and how important it is to recognise the success of the Indian business community in New Zealand.
Small Business Development Group
Another key link into government is the Small Business Development Group.
This group meets regularly with government agencies and community groups to discuss their experiences as small business owners and how government policy affects small business owners.
It is important that ethnic communities are represented on this group as they bring a unique perspective to the table.
Radio Tarana Managing Director Robert Khan sits on this group and brings the perspective of the Indian community.
Robert is a passionate advocate for the Indian business community and plays a critical part in the group’s success in getting government and business together.
Support for small business
Recently I announced the publication of a new small business booklet called, ‘New Zealand’s Support for Small Business.’
I am aware of the time constraints placed on small business owners and the need to have quick access to all the information you need.
This resource is a one-stop-shop, bringing together information from a range of government agencies and programmes such as Regional Business Partners, ACC, Inland Revenue, WorkSafe, Stats NZ, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and Callaghan Innovation.
Business.govt.nz is a website which brings together all the information that you might need as a business owner. This website provides tools such as the employment agreement builder, a workplace policy builder, tax and accounting information and much more.
Police Minister Paula Bennett recently announced the $503 million ‘Safer Communities Initiative.’ This initiative involves 20 new specialist Ethnic Liaison Officers who will build relationships with local community leaders and members, including small business owners. Their role is to ensure the issues facing ethnic communities are well understood at all levels of Police.
These initiatives support the National-led government’s priority to provide an environment where small businesses can grow and innovate.
We are doing a lot to support Indian small businesses, and small businesses in general.
As Small Business Minister, it is my job to advocate and make sure that we bring all the government’s work around small business together.
I want to make sure all small business communities are listened to and supported.
Photo: Small Business Minister Jacqui Dean with National List MP Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi at the ‘Slumberzone’ showroom in Manukau.