Taranaki is ahead of the nation when it comes to self-employment

Taranaki’s workforce is embracing self-employment, with 16.8% self-employed in 2019 - above the national average of 16.2%.

“Of the 59,030 people employed in the region, 9,905 were self-employed,” says Dr Anne Probert, General Manager of Regional Strategy and Sectors at Venture Taranaki.

Industries where people are most likely to be self employed were rental, hiring and real estate (48.4%), agriculture, forestry and fishing (39.4%), professional, scientific and technical services (28.2%) and construction (27.1%).

Sectors with notably low levels of self-employment included education and training (3.4%), electricity, gas, water and waste services (1.8%), public administration and safety (6.1%), Manufacturing (6.5%) and healthcare and social assistance (7.3%).

“New Zealand has a high self-employment rate relative to other countries, and in Taranaki it’s even higher than the national average, reflecting the composition of our economic base,” says Anne.

Taranaki’s self-employment rate has declined over the past twenty years, driven largely by changes in the agricultural sector. In 2000, more people were employed in agriculture and the self-employment rate for that sector was almost 70%.

“Today, there are fewer people employed in farming and the self-employment rate has also declined as business models have evolved and farms are getting, on average, larger.”

“Shifts in the self-employment rate can also be a response to change and uncertainty, such as fear of loss of jobs in the event of a downturn or change that creates new opportunities. It is also a mode of working which many people enjoy and can offer the flexibility to make the most of the region’s legendary lifestyle,” Anne said.

For those looking to make the move into self-employment, Venture Taranaki offers a free one-to-one Business Start-up Clinic, which in the last twelve months helped 201 people progress their ideas.

“There’s a wealth of enterprise support on offer in Taranaki for those choosing to be self-employed,” says Michelle Jordan, General Manager of Enterprise Development at Venture Taranaki.

“This includes private sector support through professional services firms and banks, as well as co-working spaces and other organisations, the angel investor group Launch Taranaki, and, of course, Venture Taranaki, the regional development agency.”

“Venture Taranaki delivers a wide range of services across the enterprise lifecycle, from idea and inception through to growth and export.

“Our enterprise support services include business start-up guidance, enterprise advisory, mentoring support, co-funding support for building business management capability, innovation and research and development activity, and many other services including Idea Summit Taranaki, a business start-up competition.”

“There’s also a vast array of regional intelligence information, sector support and development activity and much more,” says Michelle.

“Anyone looking to start their own business would do well to start with a visit to Venture Taranaki,” Michelle says.