Recognising the importance of small businesses to New Zealand’s economic growth, employment and productivity, University of Waikato’s Professor Delwyn Clark has been involved with the development of an online research Hub on small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
The new SME Research Hub was launched last week in Wellington by Small Business Minister Steven Joyce and provides a central portal for pulling together information for small business researchers, advisers to SMEs, and the government officials and policy makers working on SMEs.
Professor Clark, Associate Dean Research for the Waikato Management School, has been leading the charge on the SME Research Hub project, a collaborative project between the Small Enterprise Association of Australia and New Zealand (SEAANZ), of which Professor Clark is a Board member, and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).
Sharing and collaboration
“The Hub provides a vehicle to share SME research and analysis, connect researchers and policy analysts, and develop collaboration projects on special SME topic areas,” says Professor Clark.
In addition to the individual profiles, the Hub includes a web repository which already contains 150 key documents on SMEs, as compiled by Victoria University’s Summer Scholar, Lauren Cumming and Professor of Management, Sally Davenport.
A SME Research Hub Symposium was held on the same day as the launch bringing together researchers, government officials and policy makers involved with SMEs to connect and discuss the priorities for SME research in New Zealand. The first Small Business Sector Report was also introduced which provides detailed information on New Zealand’s 459,000 small businesses.
Strong contributors to the economy
“Small businesses are the backbone of the New Zealand economy and this report provides valuable information on our small business sector showing the diversity and significant contribution it makes to our economy, jobs and growth,” says Mr Joyce.
Professor Clark, who initiated the project in February 2013, has written a book chapter outlining the development of the Hub and the reasons why it is important. The book, ‘Meeting the Globalisation Challenge: Smart and Innovative SMEs in a Globally Competitive Environment’, is due to be launched at the SEAANZ conference in Sydney next month.
“The SME Research Hub utilises the Knowledge Hub infrastructure developed by the Government Economics Network,” says Professor Clark.
“Like the Productivity Hub, this project aims to ensure New Zealand’s policies and programmes are informed by high quality research and analysis,” she adds.