Swain offers stick and carrot to small firms

It looks like there will be a dose of the stick along with the carrot from the government for small businesses hesitating on the brink of e-commerce.

It looks like there will be a dose of the stick along with the carrot from the government for small businesses hesitating on the brink of e-commerce.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are involved in the procurement needs of the state and government will be trying to get them more involved, says IT and Commerce minister Paul Swain.

“But [their involvement] will have to be electronic. We will give them more opportunities, but there will also be threats of being left out if you don’t get engaged [with e-commerce and e-procurement].”

Swain, (pictured left) addressing an Itanz meeting last month, laid down this double-edged weapon in the context of government fulfilling its first aim in its e-commerce strategy, to “show leadership and be a model user”.

He also laid emphasis on building capability, through encouraging strategic immigration and productive foreign investment. In the latter regard, he says there should be more positive promotion of New Zealand’s advantages directly to overseas companies, rather than just the “eating and drinking together at embassy functions” which typifies much of the low-key promotion going on to date.

A report from government on ideas for capital raising, overcoming of skills shortages and international marketing and distribution of New Zealand innovative concepts will be made available to industry next month, he says.

Tackled with the still low statistical indication of SME e-commerce uptake, he questions whether the statistics so far published present the whole picture.

Indications of who has a website and email capability are just the surface, he says, and government is discussing with Statistics NZ how more comprehensive and hopefully more optimistic statistics might be collected and presented.

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