Small business is Big business

Posted on July 18, 2017

A number of years ago I was lucky enough to attend an International Economic Development Council conference in New York. Three amazing things I remember from that conference; New York (what a city!), the Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Reverend Floyd Flake’s address (more on this another time...).

Mayor de Blasio started by saying that in New York “Small business is BIG business”. He went on to say that small business is the cornerstone of New York’s and the United States’ economy. This has rung true for me ever since and in terms of economic development for a region, we neglect small business at our peril. All too often I see cities and regions focussing only on winning big new investment at the cost of supporting their own SMEs and encouraging them to grow. 

In terms of economic development for a region, we neglect small business at our peril. 

Dr David Wilson — Chief Executive Officer, Northland Inc

Enterprises with less than 20 employees account for 97% of businesses in New Zealand, 43% of new jobs created, and have an average employee income of $46,000. In Northland we have a higher percentage of one-man bands (70% vs. 66%) but slightly lower overall at 88% of our businesses that employ less than 20 people[1]. Northland is also privileged to have some very large ‘mediums’ and big businesses that are very good employers. 

This is a great base to build from; however Māori are significantly behind in the business ownership stakes, and we need more business start-ups. In a digital world any number of opportunities open up for our youth and SMEs to compete on a world stage. Whichever way you look at it, nurturing and supporting small businesses to grow is good for the economy.   This month we showcase some great small businesses and give you an idea of some of the programmes we have, and are, putting in place to support small business development in Tai Tokerau.

Dr David Wilson
Chief Executive Officer
Northland Inc