Minister of Finance: Small businesses are on government radar

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Grant Robertson says the government realizes that start-ups and small businesses struggle to access capital as easily as large corporations.

Lee Kenny / Stuff

Grant Robertson says the government realizes that start-ups and small businesses struggle to access capital as easily as large corporations.

The government plans to do more to help small and medium-sized businesses and post-Covid start-ups, especially in terms of access to capital.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson told a webinar hosted by BDO on Wednesday that he was working with Small Business Minister Stuart Nash on further support beyond what had already been offered in terms of business loan guarantees.

The world may be inundated with capital, but not always for the smallest businesses and start-ups, he said.

“We want our commercial banks to be primarily the place where people borrow and get their loans.

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“But we also recognize that government has a role to play here, and we want it to be an enabling role to support, in particular, start-ups, but also those looking to expand.

“So what we’re looking for is if this support is provided directly, if it is provided through an intermediary, it will inevitably be a mixture of the two. “

Thing

Grant Robertson says the government is keen on more travel bubbles.

The Business Finance Guarantee Scheme, which ended in June, pledged support for banks and lenders who may not have supported businesses affected by Covid.

The program was not used well initially, and Robertson said it had “finally worked” but had “highlighted problems” with supporting SMEs.

He suggested that some of this support could be linked to innovation and research. Policies like the R&D tax credit were “really good, but mostly at the broad end of the spectrum”.

Robertson reminded small businesses of flexi-wage, a temporary contribution to the wages of job seekers that was introduced during the pandemic.

“It’s available for people to start businesses, and there are grants to start, relocate, and grow.”

In general, he felt that the government had laid “a good foundation” for SMEs during the pandemic “but I recognize that these specific issues regarding access to finance and access to skills will remain issues we need to work on. together “.

Robertson said a big focus on economic recovery would be around productivity, trade, skills, infrastructure and capital.

While the government had set aside $ 57 billion over the next five years for infrastructure spending, it was still keen to find partners, especially in private capital.

The government took most of the lending risk on many small <a class=business loans during the height of the pandemic, but Robertson says there is still a feeling more could be done.” style=”width:100%;display:inline-block”/>

Gene Gallin

The government took most of the lending risk on many small business loans during the height of the pandemic, but Robertson says there is still a feeling more could be done.

The post-treaty iwi economy was an area where “we did not realize the potential”, with real opportunities not only in housing but in all areas, he said.

Robertson was also asked why exporters who had to travel were not given priority for vaccinations and MIQ spots.

“I absolutely understand the frustration,” he said, and pointed to a big increase in New Zealand trade and business finance “to be able to be a market presence for exporters” where companies couldn’t. to go to a particular country.

“I encourage anyone who is having difficulty in this regard to speak to NZTE and try to use their good offices to try to move forward. [matters]. “

But there were also New Zealanders who a year later were still trying to return home, and the government had certain obligations to them under the New Zealand Bill of Rights, which all countries did. had not.

Robertson said there would be more details to come on how the government intends to deal with border restrictions, and on Tuesday he indicated there may be more travel bubbles on the horizon.

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