The Summit was held the day before the ABAC meeting being held in Auckland, so a number of other APEC members could share their knowledge with the 150+ delegates of many ethnicities including Maori, Pasifika, Chinese, Indian, Vietnamese, Japanese and Pakeha.
Speakers included New Zealand’s Minister for Small Business Stuart Nash MP, Sharon Hunter, Stephen Jacobi on revamped Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (CPTPP) and Staples Rodway Managing Director David Searle — who spoke on the challenges for SMEs of meeting their compliance burdens.
The afternoon session featured workshops which focused on issues facing SMEs and possible solutions. Challenges identified by participants included:
- Poor access to market and trade information requirements;
- Struggling to make valuable foreign connections;
- Relatively higher costs of services and products for SMEs (lacking ability to negotiate for bulk etc)
- NTBs (non-tariff barriers) such as compliance costs.
- Lack of access to capital
The slower than standard “20th of the next month” payment terms large corporates have is one of the surprising issues facing many SMEs.
The message from the Summit is clear — dramatic change is needed. Not just an incremental advance, but a real step change embracing and carrying with it the whole sector. As a first step the goal is to create a Crown Institute for SMEs governed by a Board of Directors from the private sector to work closely with the government to make a significant difference.
Staples Rodway are proud to continue to support this initiative — helping SME businesses grow, which in turn will benefit society as a whole.