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New Zealand ranked top for ‘ease of doing business’

In the World Bank’s latest ranking index, New Zealand has overtaken Singapore to reach number one in the world for ‘ease of doing business’.  This is fantastic news, not just for kiwis but also for everyone who wants to do business in, or with our small nation.  Being number one is excellent and use of digital technology is certainly a huge contributor to this, but why are kiwis taking it to the next level?

The answer, in part, may lie in the combination of businesses ‘going tech’ with the increasing number that are ‘born tech’.  This is why, from the recently published Digital Nation report, New Zealand totals more than 29,000 tech businesses and increasing.  Considering our rapidly growing tech sector and our relatively small population, this could truly make us the most high-tech nation in the world.

Despite our top ranking achievement, what is even better is that New Zealanders still see many areas for improvement in our business ecosystem.  There’s no denying we are constantly innovating.

For example, the government is working on using digital technology to make it simpler and easier for businesses to interact with government in areas such as administration, compliance, accessing support for innovation and growth, and so on, consistently across all ministries, agencies and touch points.  One of the more visible examples is the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Result 9 programme.

At the same time, New Zealand businesses are not solely focused on the ‘ease of doing business’. Kiwis are working even harder on accelerating business growth across the entire economy.  Noticeably, there are several encouraging factors;

(1)  Increasingly, more industry sectors are bringing members together, taking the lead in how to grow and advance, with the government being involved to support and assist, rather than waiting for the government to attempt to solve everyone’s problems.  The latest example of this can be seen in the tech sector itself, where NZTech and many other associations and interest groups have come together in a national alliance.  The purpose is to connect, promote and advance the whole tech sector.

(2)  More Kiwis are recognising that technology is a key enabler for business growth, both domestically and internationally.  Increasingly, traditional Kiwi businesses are moving beyond using technology for operational activities, into strategic transformations through ‘going digital’.  They are building digital capabilities as part of their core business model, to be more present, pervasive, engaging, relevant, and ultimately rapidly scalable in today’s digitally connected world.  Advancing technology platforms for doing business enable an increasing number of new businesses to be ‘born digital’, some may even exist only digitally.  For an economy made up of mostly small to medium enterprises, this is hugely significant, as it represents the capability for even the smallest of businesses to easily engage globally.

(3)   Substantially more kiwi businesses who have developed intellectual property in what they do, are ‘going tech.  They are harnessing sophisticated knowledge and expertise, developing it into technology product and service offerings that can be delivered digitally to customers anywhere in the world.  By either building or transforming into new ‘tech’ businesses they effectively become members of the rapidly growing New Zealand tech sector.

Despite our number one ranking, like the All Blacks, New Zealand is not content to sit back and relax.  The challenge remains, especially with a country like Singapore right on our tail.  We will face strong competition from the nation with less citizens than New Zealand but vastly more capital to invest across all levels.  Or taking another angle, perhaps there are opportunities to collaborate, leveraging off one another to continue propelling our small countries forward, faster?

Mitchell Pham
NZTech Chair

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