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Digital training continues to empower New Zealand SMEs

The New Zealand government is taking steps to protect and encourage small businesses from a tech perspective. Small businesses will look to benefit from a government-funded Digital Boost skills training and support initiative.

Digital Boost will bring Kiwi businesses up to speed with the latest digital tools, enabling them to improve productivity and gain more time, freedom, and sales. Participants are taken through six key categories: digital marketing, digital tools, small business accounting, business insights and future technologies. Digital Boost is free for any registered business or sole trader to sign up. It is a self-paced learning journey, with no assessments, daily Q&A sessions, regular fireside chats and access to support people.

One small business that has benefited from digital upskilling is an e-commerce health food business. The company sells a range of low-carb food products, shares keto recipes, and educates about the potential benefits of a ketogenic diet. The company makes the keto diet accessible to Kiwis by connecting them with ingredients sourced from around the world.

The company had been in the works for a few years, but its founders did not launch the website until the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown. The co-founders’ digital capabilities allowed them to launch the business despite their physical distance and lockdown restrictions.

They said that they were on the phone many hours of the day, sending each other photos and messages through a range of digital channels. Soon after they were able to launch the business. The founder’s business experience has allowed him to keep up to date with digital developments, which made it possible for him to also launch an e-commerce business during COVID-19 restrictions. For him, doing the digital training with Digital Boost will help small businesses work out where they need to focus their attention.

Another beneficiary of the government initiative is a campground in Gisborne, showing how digitally upskilling can boost business. The site has campsites, glamping tents and cabins. One of their first actions was to develop a new website. The manager says that revamping the outdated website and developing a social media presence has been crucial to their success especially with the restrictions brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The manager said that once the new website was up and running, direct bookings doubled compared to the same month the previous year. For him, some of this success is due to the website being functional, efficient, and easy to use, with customers experiencing no difficulty in the booking process. He also noted that social media is vital to the business.

He also believes the Digital Boost initiative is a great resource for getting educated on how digital tools can benefit your business, whether its driving growth or increasing efficiency. There is a lot of free information that can help businesses understand the importance of using digital and give them tools to transition towards it, he added.

As reported by OpenGov Asia, the government’s vision for New Zealand small businesses is to be the most digitally enabled in the world. 2021 will be the year of digital transformation for thousands of Kiwi small businesses.

The Digital Boost skills training is the first initiative to be launched from the Digital Boost programme, a partnership between the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and the private sector to support thousands of small businesses in realising the benefits of using digital tools and technologies in their business.

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