Icehouse ticks boxes in first impact survey

AMANDA SACHTLEBEN
Last updated 14:09 17/04/2013

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A survey by business growth centre The Icehouse has shown its programmes have a positive effect on businesses.

But the survey also showed participant companies needed work on getting external advice, establishing clear export strategies and governance.

The survey, conducted online last October, queried companies that had started or completed The Icehouse's Owner Manager Programme, Agribusiness Programme, Achieving Business Growth workshops, Leadership Development programme, and its coaching and startup programmes.

Respondents ranked The Icehouse highly for its effect on company growth, with 76% saying they had experienced a positive effect, and 57% attributed growth in sales to Icehouse programmes. Sixty six percent of respondents said their leadership style had improved.

However, about a third of businesses still needed convincing about the value of external advice and mentoring, BNZ chief economist Tony Alexander said in summing up the survey findings.

He highlighted internationalisation as an area of deficiency among respondents – 48% were already exporting products or services and 20% had entered new markets, but 47% didn’t have a clear sales strategy.

“Further work seems needed on preparing New Zealand businesspeople for the rigours of foreign markets,” Alexander said in the survey report.

Alexander also highlighted the importance of improving the way our capital markets function, to support the growth plans of smaller companies and startups as well as medium and large firms. Nearly half of the survey respondents didn’t feel adequately capitalised to grow.

In the report, CEO Andy Hamilton said quantifying the Icehouse’s effectiveness on participants was part of ongoing accountability in ensuring the growth of Kiwi companies and the economy.

“This isn’t a shoulder pat, rather our focus is to actively measure the experience of our customers so we can continue to improve our effectiveness in the New Zealand business community.”

Other areas where companies needed to improve were governance: nearly 60% of companies didn’t believe they had sufficient governance and 40% didn’t have an advisor, mentor or board structure. Almost 60% hadn’t worked on a succession plan.

However, businesses were performing well in adjusting to technology changes.

Sixty two percent of respondents were evolving their technology strategy and 52% said they were using technology more effectively after working with the Icehouse.

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