New Zealand has a healthy startup culture, but more can be done to support the development of home-grown entrepreneurs, MYOB says.
MYOB general manager Carolyn Luey points out that in recent years New Zealand has made a name for itself as a great place to start a business.
“According to members of the startup community and data from our latest Business Monitor survey, in terms of environment, attitude and entrepreneurialism, New Zealand is a great place to be if you're an innovator or entrepreneur.
“However, we think more needs to be done to establish New Zealand as a hub for startup growth and development, including developing our education system, changing the public's investment mindset and cultivating talented people who can help businesses to scale up.
Luey says while their total economic contribution to New Zealand is difficult to measure, the opportunities startups provide in terms of diversification, employment and long-term global potential make them a vital part of the local economy.
“In New Zealand, we have no shortage of ideas – and entrepreneurial people with the potential to make them really successful.
“However, we need to keep developing the conditions that nurture and develop the businesses coming through, and couple those startups with frameworks and disciplines that can help turn a good idea to a great execution,” says Luey.
In MYOB's State of Aotearoa's Start-ups report, it identifies ways in which New Zealand can strengthen its startup ecosystem.
“Members of the community agree, undertaking a business venture like a startup requires a phenomenal amount of hard work – and it's not for everyone.
“To succeed you must be entrepreneurial. That means having a long-term vision, being curious, grabbing opportunities when they present themselves and a possessing a tonne of self-belief,” says Luey.
To foster a thriving startup ecosystem, New Zealand also requires better access to capital and investors who are willing to take risks.
“New Zealand's economy is smaller than the likes of the US or the UK, so our investors are slightly more risk-averse. We need a better understanding of the growth-cycle of these businesses.
“A smaller economy also means we have a smaller pool of people and organisations to supply funding. But startups with big and bold ideas need investors who are prepared to back them, despite the risk.
Luey says shared working spaces are also beneficial to creative business-people, bringing benefits in terms of enabling startups to network with mentors, incubators and potential investors.
“Startups require purpose built creative environments to collaborate and share ideas.
“We've seen it all over the world, particularly in places like Silicon Valley. By putting creative people in a vibrant environment designed to support the way they work, there has been a rise in the number of creative exchanges – everyone's learning is greatly accelerated by being in the same place.
“New Zealand needs these types of spaces all over the country,” she says.
The report also provides insights from industry leaders, incubators and investors, as well as data from international surveys.
Together, the results suggest New Zealand is above average in terms of the essentials for a successful startup environment.
According to the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business Report 2016, New Zealand is the second best nation in terms of managing ongoing compliance requirements, and the Global Information Technology Report 2016 names New Zealand as the number one country to start a business in.
“If you have the passion and drive to do something extraordinary – turning a small idea into a globally marketed product or service – New Zealand has the people, facilities and environment to help you get there.
“New Zealand is making some serious inroads too – with plans for better funding, improvements to tech infrastructure, and a growing startup ecosystem, but there is still a long way for the country to go. “MYOB was a startup once. We know what it means to grow and transform how you do business. Ensuring New Zealand has a strong startup ecosystem to support growing companies is hugely important for the future of our economy,” says Luey.