Small business success is at the heart of a thriving Asia-Pacific region

by | Nov 19, 2018 | Media Releases


Issued by the New Zealand International Business Forum (NZIBF).

19 November 2018 –  The New Zealand members of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) and the New Zealand International Business Forum (NZIBF) have warmly welcomed a new report on how to help small businesses, including those led by women, to be more successful in trade and multi-country ‘global value chains’.

“Small and medium-sized businesses are at the heart of New Zealand’s economy – and indeed that of the Asia-Pacific,” said New Zealand ABAC member Tenby Powell. “Performing well across borders is a challenge for them – but it’s in all of our interests to see them realise their full potential in this area.”

Mr Powell noted that he had initiated the project looking at how to help micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to be more successful across borders in his capacity as the Co-Chair of the ABAC Working Group on Micro-, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises and Entrepreneurship. The research was conducted by a team from the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business.

“The Marshall team has done an outstanding job on this report,” said Mr Powell. “They talked to over 500 businesses and policy-makers around the region, and have come up with some valuable concrete recommendations on how to help these firms to internationalise,” Mr Powell added. “The digital economy and services sector will be central to this.”

ABAC New Zealand policy advisor Stephanie Honey, who worked closely with the research team, noted that the research had highlighted the importance of building basic business readiness as well as trade-related capability; the need for easier access to information about markets and trade requirements; the benefits of better access to finance, and the value of opening up opportunities for MSMEs through networking and sharing best practice. Addressing the under-representation of women would also be key.

“One of the central messages in this report is about removing barriers in the trade pipeline,” Ms Honey noted. “Tackling tariffs and non-tariff barriers for goods and services which stand in the way of MSMEs, and pressing ahead with regional economic integration, will be fundamental to the prosperity of our communities and of our region,” she added.

Mr Powell, who also serves as the Chair of New Zealand’s Small Business Council, noted that there were many potential synergies between the Marshall findings and the work of the Small Business Council in improving SME performance in New Zealand.   “I am excited to see how we can leverage the ideas in this report into greater success for Kiwi firms,” he concluded.

The New Zealand ABAC members are Tenby Powell, Katherine Rich of the New Zealand Food & Grocery Council, and Phil O’Reilly of Iron Duke Partners. Stephen Jacobi serves as Alternate Member and NZIBF Executive Director. Stephanie Honey is the ABAC New Zealand policy advisor and NZIBF Associate Director. New Zealand will Chair APEC in 2021, and will host a range of APEC meetings that year, including the APEC Leaders’ Week and the APEC CEO Summit.

For more information:

Tenby Powell, ABAC New Zealand, mobile 027 473 1654, email

Stephanie Honey, Associate Director NZIBF, mobile 021 352 633, email

Realising the Untapped Potential of MSMEs in APEC – Practical Recommendations for Enhancing Cross-Border Trade’, report by University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business for the APEC Business Advisory Council, November 2018


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