New Zealand government launches digital platform for small businesses
The government of New Zealand has announced a digital platform improving access to government agencies for small businesses.
The Business Connect platform, which will receive $7.1mn of funding over two years, is intended to lessen the busywork involved in contacting government so that businesses can spend more time on matters important to them.
“Business Connect will enable businesses and government agencies to work together smarter,” said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. “Our objective is to integrate access to multiple services through a single digital platform, and cut out repetitive paperwork. We want to make the relationship easier with all levels of government. Business Connect will allow small businesses to interact seamlessly via a single portal. In time it will streamline the way central and local government services can be applied for, managed and tracked.
“In time businesses will be able to apply for a range of permits, licences and consents, without having to repeat the same information and documentation over and over. Examples could include services that help make it easier to comply with food safety regulations. The pilot agencies will allow the platform to be tested in a real world environment directly with businesses. Other central and local government agencies will gradually come on board over two years.”
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A pilot for the platform is expected to be available from October and feature services from three agencies: the Ministry for Primary Industries, the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment and NZ Customs Service.
“Business Connect will allow a business to log on to a customised dashboard,” said Minister for Small Business Stuart Nash. “They can update their information in one place and share that information across multiple agencies. They will be able to track the status of their applications and be notified online of approvals and renewals.
“Central and local government agencies that join Business Connect will be able to follow common templates and rules in order to design and deliver more integrated digital services. Some smaller local councils in particular will find this a very attractive and easy system to be part of. New Zealand consistently ranks number one as the easiest country to do business. But there is still progress to be made. The Business Connect platform transforms government services from manual and paper-based, to more joined up and business-centric.”