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Small Business Owners and Farmers -Their Contribution to Communities and Country

Originally published by Philip Wicks on LinkedIn
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As we move towards Christmas and hopefully a much-needed break for many people a couple of thoughts around two groups of business owners. Small Business owners and Farmers.

I have been privileged over the last 9 years to work alongside small business owners every day. And it has been a privilege. Seeing how they have coped over the last 18 months with tremendous uncertainty, challenges and general concern about survival and for the wellbeing of their staff. I think the thoughts around staff have moved me the most.

A small immigration company who almost lost their whole cliental over-night and an owner whose biggest concern was keeping her staff employed when it seemed more logical to create redundancies. She didn’t, and all her staff are still employed. Through hard work, reinvention, and determination the business has survived a very stressful period with all still intact.

An Auckland engineering company whose owners biggest concern over the last few months was the mental wellbeing of 20 staff who have been in a lock down for many months. Other business owners who have continued to look forward, train and build their teams, create leadership, and try and provide certainty for their employees while attempting to cope with the many challenges both external and internal.

The people that take the risk to start their own business are hugely valuable to our country. Their businesses help create our communities. Small businesses are about 70% of all businesses in NZ and employ a large percentage of the population. Many of them are feeling over worked some are not in a great place mentally but most will pull through because of share determination and the ability to look forward. Christmas is hopefully a time to recharge the batteries and take a much-deserved break. I wish all small business owners a well-deserved Merry Christmas and a happy and easier new year.

The other group is farmers who often these days are somehow portrayed as villains. How did that happen?? I was brought up on a dairy farm and was involved in the agricultural industry for many years both in NZ and overseas.

The world is changing and in NZ our farmers have had to cope with trying to adjust with those changes faster than any other industry all the while trying to maintain an export industry that makes up most of our export earnings.

These people are not villains they are heroes, without the economic wealth created by our farmers we would not be able to afford welfare, we would not be able to afford a free health system and we certainly wouldn’t have been able to afford the subsidies that have been distributed during Covid. In fact, their current contribution will be an economic life saver to offset some of the costs of Covid.

I also wish our farmers a merry Christmas and hope that more people take seriously the many positive contributions that these hard-working people make to Aotearoa New Zealand.