Small business support in New Zealand is organised by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise. This New Zealand government agency has a range of support programs and you would definitely benefit at your small business start if you are aware of these.

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise – NZTE – provide small business support in New Zealand through:

  • BIZ
  • Enterprise Training
  • Investment Ready
  • Business Incubators
  • Business Clusters
  • Enterprise Development Fund
  • E-business Roadmap

In addition to these general programmes, you might also be able to obtain support under one of the sectoral programmes, such as those for Food & Beverage, Niche Manufacturing or Maori Enterprise.

NZTE does not confine itself to small business but also assists medium enterprises. Work and Income NZ, on the other hand, focuses on helping smaller persons, mostly to find work. One of the ways of doing this is by supporting self-employment programmes.


BIZ and BIZ Training has almost come to stand for small business support in New Zealand. While BIZ refers you to organisations, people, training and other resources to meet your needs and problems, BIZ Training seeks to develop business skills through:

  • Training and seminars;
  • One-on-one mentoring: and
  • Networking support.

While the referral services are provided through BIZ web site and over the phone, training is extended through a network of BIZ providers. These providers assess local needs and offer programmes with BIZ support. Go to the Business Advice, Assistance and Support page of BIZ for details.

A very important component of small business support in New Zealand is the help provided for developing sound business plans. Most small entrepreneurs might not be familiar with the details of business planning. For these persons, BIZ has published a guide for developing your small business plan which you could download.

Training Programmes

Work and Income NZ – WINZ – offers a training programme, Be Your Own Boss, to those thinking of starting their own business. This program is intended for individuals who have been working for others. WINZ has also published a booklet, Start Your Own Business, explaining what is involved.

NZTE’s Enterprise Training programmes constitute an important component of small business support in New Zealand. However, these are mainly aimed at existing small business owners, with only a limited amount of training for those wishing to start.

The Investment Ready training is about raising capital. If you are planning to commercialise a new concept, you could learn how to find investors. This programme is also meant mainly for existing businesses, to expand or diversify their activities.

Financial Support

If you are enrolled with Work and Income NZ, you could get financial asssistance for setting up your own business. For this, you must have a good business idea, and be unable to raise required finances elsewhere. There are also some conditions, like working full time on the business.

You could get this assistance, Enterprise Allowance, in two forms:

  1. A four-weekly subsidy to meet costs of getting started; and/or
  2. A one-off grant to purchase fixed assets or stock.

You would have to prepare a business plan and apply for the Enterprise Allowance. If you need the help of a business advisor to prepare the plan, you could make a grant request to pay that person. Grants are also available for training in business skills.

You would have to enter into an agreement with Work and Income NZ, and also open your books of accounts for their inspection, in case your request for assistance is approved and you start the business.

A number of other programs are available, including the following:

  • Maori Women’s Development Incorporation
  • Workbridge Self Start Fund for persons with disabilities
  • Enterprise Development Fund of NZ Trade and Enterprise
  • Investment Ready Brokerage services for business ideas with high potential

Go to the Grants & Financial Assistance page from BIZ Web site for a list of the programs, and links to more details.

If you are developing a new technology, you might be able to obtain grants from Technology NZ. The Grants and Financial Assistance page of BIZ, mentioned earlier, outlines the kinds of financial support for small business in New Zealand. The Enterprise Development Fund of NZTE extends grants for meeting the cost of specialist advice and support.

It must be noted, however, that grants usually need matching funds to be brought in by you, and are subject to strict conditionalities. They are also usually for very specific purposes and cannot be used for all activities.

Support to Disadvantaged Sections

Small business support in New Zealand includes specialist support to Maori and Pacific people, and also women. Maori and Pacific people have a culture based on sharing, and they need some training to operate in the competitive environment of modern business. BIZ training accommodates this requirement.

Te Puni Kokiri program (Ministry of Maori Development) includes small business support for Maori. The Maori Trustee Training under NZTE seeks to impart modern anagement skills to administration of traditional Maori trusts.

Business Incubators and Clusters

These forms of small business support in New Zealand involve facilitation of small business success. Business Incubators provide premises, business advice, mentoring and networking services to their clients. The client units are housed in the same location and there is a full time Incubator Manager.

The incubation period is upto three years and the units operate by themselves thereafter. NZTE supports incubator formation through facilitation and funding. Sharing of information and best practices help the incubator network to improve their functioning and NZTE facilitates such exchanges.

NZTE also has a Business Cluster development programme. Business clusters are independent business units cooperating strategically to gain business advantages. Training, infrastructure and procurement are some of the areas where significant gains can be achieved through such cooperation.

E-business Roadmap

Another element of small business support in New Zealand is the customised roadmaps for e-business that NZTE would develop for interested small business units. E-business helps small units to compete with large units, as explained in the Ecommerce and Small Business article.

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