Prospa survey highlights the resilience and optimism of SMEs

A new study has given insight into the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the small business sector in New Zealand and sheds light on the optimism felt by many Kiwi small business owners.

The research, commissioned by small business lending specialist, Prospa, and conducted by YouGov, found the majority (95%) of survey respondents enjoy being a small business owner in New Zealand. The most popular reasons include being their own boss (73%), a flexible schedule (66%) and pursuing their passion (47%). Creating jobs for others was also cited by 17% of respondents.

Further to this, eight in ten (83%) agree that New Zealand is a great place to be a small business owner, and despite a challenging period, would still recommend starting a small business to others.

Despite the obvious disruptions caused by the arrival of COVID-19, 65% of small business owners are also feeling more connected to and supported by their local community and customers now than before the pandemic.

A sense of community seems to be strengthening amongst small business owners too, with almost half (45%) of respondents having either sought or provided support, advice, or best practice tips on managing the impacts of COVID-19 from, or to other small businesses in their community.

Beyond this, the survey reveals that over half of small business owners are feeling positive about the future. Six in ten (58%) describe their business as being more resilient and sustainable today than before COVID-19, compared with only a third (34%) who disagree.

While there is still a lingering concern about the ongoing impacts of COVID-19, more than a quarter (26%) actually believe that getting through the height of the pandemic has made them more ambitious and motivated to grow their small business. Younger businesses that have been running for five years or less are more than twice as likely to report feeling this way, when compared to those whose business has been running for more than 20 years (40% vs 17%).

More than half (55%) of respondents have plans to invest in their small businesses within the next six to 12-months. Small business owners under 50 are more likely than those over 50 to say they have plans to invest within this timeframe (75% vs 42%). Common investments include new products and services (49%), marketing and sales channels (37%) and renovations and upgrades (30%). Three in ten (30%) also have plans to hire new staff.

Prospa Managing Director, New Zealand, Adrienne Begbie said:

“The findings highlight the shared experiences of small business owners as they’ve navigated and adapted through the challenges of the pandemic. It’s great to hear about the help and advice they’ve offered and received from fellow business owners and the support they’ve been feeling from the community.

“Small business owners made many sacrifices over the last year, so it’s encouraging to see them look positively to the future. With many intending to invest into their business within the next year, it demonstrates how resilient the sector really is and why small businesses are the backbone of the New Zealand economy. They’re critical to our collective recovery and we must continue to support local as we did during the height of the pandemic, to ensure these businesses are around for years to come,” concludes Begbie.

About the Research

This study was conducted online by YouGov between 19th April – 3rd May 2021 amongst a sample of 203 small business owners in New Zealand with 1 to 50 employees.

Media Contact:

Marina Ohtsuka, One Plus One Group
[email protected]
+64 21 257 2666

Emily Ding, One Plus One Group
[email protected]
+64 21 257 3846