SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) comprise over 97 per cent of enterprises in New Zealand. They play a key role in the New Zealand economy, employing over 584,000 people (30 per cent of the workforce) and contributing 28 per cent of New Zealand’s GDP. Governance structures for SMEs may vary to suit their size and structure, but duties for directors are the same and effective governance is equally important. 

In this section:

  • Director development
  • Advisory boards
  • Health and safety
  • Cyber security

The Government’s Small Business Sector Report (2014) provides an overview of the small business sector, including international comparisons, regional breakdown and case studies of small businesses in different industries.

First Boards is an IoD initiative to help promote a better understanding of governance principles and foster a greater awareness of how improved governance improves corporate performance and will be helpful for businesses looking to set up a board for the first time.

boardroom June/July 2014 has a special focus on SMEs, including Changing the game for the SME generation and Better by governance, which highlights the importance of governance for SMEs.

BDC, Canada’s development bank’s website has useful articles, online tools, tips and advice on all aspects of running businesses, including tools to help make the most of technology.

Director Development

Risk agility for SME directors Respond quickly to a changing risk landscape, avoid becoming overwhelmed. Join our experienced webinar facilitator to take a look at risk in the context of small to medium sized enterprises, how to respond to risk issues and what you can do to keep agile in an ever-changing risk landscape.

Essentials of Directorship – These courses address governance, finance, strategy, risk and digital.

Health and Safety Governance – Complete this self-paced online learning module over one to two hours, whenever you choose.

Advisory boards

An advisory board differs from a statutory board of directors in that it advises on specific areas of business and does not have a decision making role or any other powers or authority. Its role is to support discussion and debate to assist management in their decision making. It can also provide an opportunity for business owners to trial the input and role of independent directors.

The IoD's Advisory Board Toolkit is available for SMEs considering establishing an advisory board.

A Canadian study by BDC, Advisory Boards: An Untapped Resource for Businesses, (2014) shows that SMEs that use advisory boards have superior growth and better financial results.

Health and safety

The IoD and WorkSafe New Zealand Health and Safety Leadership Guide is for SME business owners and company directors. The guide is an overview of workplace regulations and employer responsibilities, to help business owners and directors meet their health and safety compliance obligations, and includes steps to build a positive and proactive health and safety culture.


Cyber-security resources and guidance to protect sensitive information online can be found on the Connect Smart website including the Connect Smart for Business: SME Toolkit