Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) and Zeald launched the Digital Cluster Initiative last month, where groups of businesses will come together to transform their operations digitally, grow their businesses, and strengthen SME performance in the regions. The Digital Cluster Initiative is part of BNZ's and Zeald's commitment as founding members of the Digital Boost Alliance. Starting with a pilot, they are seeking three motivated and committed business groups to partner with, to build into three digitally-enabled business clusters over two years. Setting up each cluster with ecommerce, a digital marketplace, and wraparound support, they will create three strong case studies showing how digital clustering can be done – and refine a blueprint that can be applied to other business groups, beyond the pilot. The project will equip businesses digitally to increase productivity, grow brand awareness and sales, and develop new routes to market – together. Paul Conway, Chief Economist of BNZ, says business clusters have huge potential to transform Kiwi SME performance.
“Many small Kiwi businesses operate in insular local markets, but by clustering on ecommerce platforms and using digital tools they will be able to benefit from scale, expand into new territories, lift performance, and increase returns." “Digital marketplaces help bring both domestic and international economies closer to Kiwi SMEs. Over time we hope that it creates new export markets for New Zealand businesses.” David Kelly, Chairman of Zeald, says the digital opportunities for Aotearoa are enormous. “Through this initiative, we want to help Kiwi businesses to collaborate, to adopt ecommerce, and to build a digital economy – supporting businesses to grow and thrive in a digital world.” Applications are open until Thursday 17 February, 2022. For more information or to apply for the pilot, visit www.digitalclusters.nz or download the Digital Boost Alliance Commitment Document, which details the scope of the initiative.