Our second Business Roundtable meeting was an opportunity for business leaders and representatives to connect with Minister for Ethnic Communities Melissa Lee and discuss issues important to them.

Mervin Singham, Chief Executive of the Ministry for Ethnic Communities, hosted the meeting which was held in Auckland on 1 March.

About 20 leaders attended. They represented a range of businesses working across trade and investment, the building industry, and other sectors. They also included representatives from ethnic business associations and councils.

About 20 people sit around a large table. A screen and banner are in the background.

The one-hour meeting included an introduction from the Minister, who is also the country’s Economic Development Minister. The Minister thanked attendees for their contributions, telling them that their success is her success.

Conversation flowed, with leaders taking turns to make comments or ask questions. Topics included support for women-led businesses, the importance of forming relationships with mainstream businesses and associations, support for employers, and retail safety. A common theme was making sure support for businesses was culturally and linguistically appropriate. The Minister discussed the importance of cross-government relationships and asked the Ministry to discuss some of the issues raised with Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

The meeting comes almost a year after our first Business Roundtable meeting in April 2023. Mervin Singham spoke about the targeted approach the Ministry has undertaken to understand the barriers and opportunities ethnic entrepreneurs and businesses face.

We have:

  • Hosted EthnicBiz Forum: Unlocking Ethnic Business Potential, attended by more than 100 business leaders, business association, government and financial organisation representatives.
  • Worked with MBIE to address migrant exploitation issues, the accessibility of its tools and support services and the inclusion of ethnic communities’ data in its Labour Market Snapshot reports.
  • Produced inter-cultural capability training (e-Learning) and resources for businesses, government agencies and other organisations.
  • Supported ethnic women-led businesses by organising an Ethnic Women’s Empowering Leadership and Voice Hui.

We remain committed to working on initiatives that improve economic outcomes for ethnic communities, aligning with the priorities in our Strategy.

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