Covid 19 coronavirus: ANZ data shows pandemic catalyst for new businesses

The Covid-19 lockdown gave many Kiwis the time and motivation to launch new businesses.

Maybe it was a business idea they had been sitting on for sometime or maybe it was an idea that was sparked by a new-found need.

Data from the country’s largest bank, ANZ, suggests there has been a 13 per cent increase in the number of small and medium-sized business accounts opened in the year to April. This is consistent with a jump in the number of new business listings on the Companies Register since the lockdown in April.

Companies Office data shows more than 38,500 new businesses have listed on the register since May, up 20 per cent on the same time last year.

Between May and December, ANZ experienced a 22 per cent decrease in the number of business accounts being closed. This could be attributable to the government’s wage subsidy scheme.

Infometrics estimated that during lockdown only 53 per cent of New Zealand’s workforce were on the job and almost 1.2 million workers were at home.

Mark Hiddleston, ANZ managing director of business, said it appeared many Kiwis had used the downtime during lockdown to think up new business ideas and to identify gaps in the market for new opportunities.

“Since the level 4 lockdown we’ve seen more Kiwis look to start their own business as a source of income,” Hiddleston said.

“Today’s small start-up could become tomorrow’s next big employer, so it’s great to be able to support this kind of activity.”

Snow gear and eyewear company Powda was one company that started during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Founder Kim Western said she was undeterred by the country going into lockdown, and instead used it as an opportunity to develop a website and build relationships with other retail and outdoor experience businesses.

Western was made redundant during lockdown and instead of letting it get her down she used her newfound time to grow Powda.

“My business relies on people being able to go outdoors so the lockdown and restrictions on gatherings had a huge impact.

“Without international tourists, there have been fewer people on the mountain this year, but it’s been overwhelming to see the support New Zealanders shown to local companies,” Western said.

“One of the best things to happen during and after lockdown was the way businesses collaborated. Egos were put aside and we helped each other get through.”

Small and medium-sized enterprises make up 97 per cent of all New Zealand businesses, employ more than 630,000 people and generate 28 per cent of New Zealand gross domestic product.

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