Small businesses are not only the heart of our economy – they’re also the heart of our communities. They provide important goods and services, as well as great employment opportunities. They know and love their locals. And after a tough year, they need our support!
This Friday, 9 April, is the first national Small Business Day. It’s an opportunity to show your local spots some love. Is the lolly cake at the café on the corner a real treat? Love having a chat to your neighbourhood greengrocer? Perhaps there’s a nearby craft brewery you’ve been meaning to check out, or a tailor who could stitch your favourite jeans back into shape.
The past year has been challenging for all of us, including for the owners and employees of the small businesses that keep Aotearoa running. There are around 530,000 of these businesses in New Zealand, representing 97% of all firms and over a quarter of the country’s GDP.
Our Government is committed to supporting Kiwi businesses and their workers, so together we can continue our strong economic recovery. Small businesses are at the centre of our COVID recovery plan. By helping them to rebuild and thrive, we support our communities and whānau, too.
We’ve worked hard to cushion the impact of COVID-related disruptions on these businesses, with programmes like the Wage Subsidy Scheme, the Resurgence Support Payment, and the Small Business Cashflow (Loan) Scheme.
Wage subsidies have protected more than 1.8 million jobs, while the Resurgence Support Payment has helped businesses absorb one-off costs or cashflow troubles following alert level changes. In just six weeks, close to 80,000 applications have been received for resurgence support, and more than $195 million has already paid out.
Interest-free loans, meanwhile, have helped more than 100,000 small and medium enterprises stay afloat, providing more than $1.6 billion in funding so far. The vast majority of these loans have gone to firms with 10 or fewer staff. Businesses across the country and a wide range of sectors have benefitted, and many are already repaying their loans because of our better-than-expected economic conditions.
These Government initiatives – alongside business tax measures and targeted support for Māori enterprise – have kept small businesses going and given them momentum. But there’s more work to do and we’re committed to continuing to support Kiwi businesses, as together we move forward with our recovery.
On Small Business Day, we’re encouraging everyone around New Zealand to get out and support their favourite local businesses. In the meantime, you can also watch Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s Small Business Day message here.
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