SME research hub launched

23:02, Jun 24 2014

A Waikato University professor is behind the launch of a government "knowledge hub" for small businesses. 

Professor Delwyn Clark, Associate Dean of the University's Management School, said involvement in Small-to-Medium Enterprise (SME) policy research saw her discover "this huge gap". 

"It appears that we don't have specific policies anymore for SMEs so that was a little bit of a shock to me. 

"They have assumed that what's good for business is good for small business, but actually sometimes the small business has got special needs."

A little more research confirmed that "no one knew much about the research or who was doing it", said Clark.

"Everybody is working in silos. The way the knowledge hub works seems quite a good concept of bringing together those who are in research in various portfolios and those who are in the government departments, ministries and agencies that are connected to SMEs."

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Clark and her team got to work convincing the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment that it was a good idea, and the result was the SME research hub, launched last week.

The online hub sees policy makers and those researching relevant topics invited to an online forum where the information can be shared. About 150 documents have already been uploaded to the site containing research on subjects like accounting or marketing in SMEs.

Clark said she hopes the hub will make for better SME policy in the future.

"We've got limited resources in NZ ... if we can profile the people who have that expertise and share the information we've got and collaborate on the priority areas, then we've got the ability to have better evidence for making better policy."

Waikato Times