A year ago when, in partnership with Kiwibank, The Spinoff launched our business section we wanted to cover the New Zealand economy from a perspective that showed how hard small and medium sized companies work to make this country thrive. We wanted to provide a source of business journalism in which our local entrepreneurs and business owners could see a reflection of their own stories, their successes and failures. I could never have predicted the demand that existed for this coverage, and the effect our journalism would have.
From our very first month we had over 60,000 page views across the section, and we foreshadowed the downfall of the meth testing industry with a feature on the “great scam”. In April when our story about Happy Cow Milk – Glen Herud’s struggle to keep his ethical dairy company afloat – went global, we hit 275,000 page views. Then a month later we broke the story of New Zealand fashion pioneer WORLD labelling clothes manufactured in Bangladesh as “Made in New Zealand.”
In an economy where 97% of business have 20 employees or fewer, we’ve been proud to create a place where people who would otherwise never seek out business news have found stories that represent their own experience as entrepreneurs. We’ve profiled local companies that are taking on global players like Uber, celebrated peanut butter brands popping off, and discovered startups making ethical investing easy.
It’s also been important to show how hard it is for small businesses in New Zealand. Our story on payment delays by big firms to small ones, resonated with a huge number of our readers whose cash flows are crippled by invoices that go unpaid for months. The coverage eventually led to Fonterra changing their policy and with a big of luck some maybe legislative change too.
Over the last year our team of Rebecca Stevenson and Jihee Junn has presented business news from a different perspective, one people were desperate to read. We broke the biggest stories, covered young people doing fascinating things, questioned the apparent economic pessimism, and we did it all in the typically exciting, irreverent and intelligent Spinoff way. And people loved it.
We set the national news agenda and hopefully, if Deborah Russell’s bill gets pulled from the biscuit tin, we’ve made the world just slightly better for those businesses hustling every day.
We couldn’t have done it without the support of Kiwibank. The idea that there was another story to be told about a world of SMEs and startups that was vital to our economy but mostly missed, has been recognised in the readership of the business section that keeps on growing. The partnership has positioned Kiwibank at the heart of the conversation about New Zealand’s new economy, and as a thought leader in the sector.
And we’re just getting started. We’re really excited about the next 12 months working with Kiwibank and continuing to tell the stories of the small businesses on whose shoulders the New Zealand economy stands.
Written by Duncan Greive: The Spinoff Managing Editor
When Kiwi businesses join Kiwibank, Kiwibank joins them - we know that when it comes to the big hurdles you face, it's not just business, it's personal.