AWS today announced the official launch of AWS Lift in New Zealand, a new program to help small and medium businesses (SMBs) get started on their digital transformation journey. SMBs are at the heart of the New Zealand economy, representing 97% of all businesses in the country.

New and existing AWS customers that join the AWS Lift program will receive a starter pack of AWS Credits over 12 months to help them get started on the cloud. The availability of AWS credits enables SMBs to try out over 200 AWS cloud services using the most extensive global cloud infrastructure and deepest functionality. With the launch of AWS Lift, SMBs have the opportunity to experiment and use AWS Cloud with pay-as-you-go options, improve operational efficiency, and pursue growth while keeping costs low.

“AWS Lift supports SMBs and is part of our commitment to advancing digital transformation and economic growth in New Zealand,” said Tiffany Bloomquist, Country Manager, Commercial Sector, AWS New Zealand. “The economic climate and recent storms in New Zealand have placed even more pressure on SMBs to adapt their business models to survive, and this is where technology can help. Building a robust digital SMB ecosystem is critical to the growth of New Zealand’s digital economy, and we are proud to collaborate with government, industry, and AWS Partners on programs to help SMBs in digitising their business and moving to the cloud. We look forward to helping SMBs across New Zealand on their journey to recover, build resilience, and expand globally.”

Jane Ward, Founder and CEO of people technology consultancy specializing in the design, selection, implementation and support of HR system solutions, Tomorrow’s People, shares why she is keen to join AWS Lift; “One of our challenges in digitising our business has been the ability to create and host integrations across HR systems without costly infrastructure overheads. Previously this has restricted our ability to scale our business as desired. AWS Lift helps to directly address these issues and enables us to move forward with our plans to grow our integration business practice and deliver these key services to our clients. This program provides practical support to small business owners like myself with limited resources in realising our digital plans. We were familiar with AWS’s Activate program for start-ups, and it’s great to see AWS’s support now extend this to core small businesses."

AWS removes barriers to cloud adoption

AWS commissioned research to identify top challenges and opportunities of local business owners to better understand New Zealand SMB needs and challenges. Conducted by Tech Research Asia, the research found that more than 80% of New Zealand SMBs are being negatively impacted by persistent inflation, supply chain constraints, and skill shortages. The cost savings and flexibility offered by the cloud make it an essential technology for SMBs in the current macroeconomic environment. However, SMBs are holding back on investing in new technology due to IT budget cuts, with nearly half (46%) set to reduce their technology spend in the next 12 months.

AWS Lift can alleviate the cost pressures faced by SMBs. With a minimum billing fee of just USD $1 and no lock-in periods or hidden fees, AWS Lift provides SMBs with a commitment free approach to get started on AWS Cloud. As SMBs start experimenting on AWS Cloud, they can develop the operational muscle and transforming processes to drive new revenue growth. AWS Lift rewards SMBs that increase their use of AWS cloud services by offsetting their bill with even more AWS credits, up to a maximum of USD $83,500 over 12 months.

Another study, AWS APAC AlphaBeta Digital Skills Study (2022) reveals that the training level for SMBs across APJ is not keeping up with their pace of digitalisation and is lagging behind large organisations. Only 25% of SMB employers provide training support for their workers, as compared to 37% in large organizations. AWS supports Digital Boost Alliance to help small businesses in New Zealand plug their digital knowledge and skills gap by onboarding SMB customers to the Digital Boost program that offers free, self-paced digital skills training through video modules designed for the digital starter to more advanced modules.

With limited technical talent available, 2022 New Zealand SMB Trends Research reveals that SMBs in New Zealand are relying more and more on the partner ecosystem, preferably local partners, to deliver their projects. In New Zealand, our panel of local AWS Partners includes Lancom, Koam, Arcanum, and Eliza.

Beyond the dedicated support from AWS and our partners, SMBs can also connect, learn, and share with like-minded peers who are going digital in the AWS Connected Community. Exclusively created for SMBs, AWS offers free access to educational resources such as events, workshops, and a video library of case studies and digital topics, or “Ask an Expert” for a free one-on-one consultation with experts on business and technical issues, or enjoy discounts on a range of software and cloud services curated to meet the needs of SMBs.

AWS commitment to support New Zealand businesses 

AWS Lift builds on our long-term commitment to New Zealand, marked by investments in local infrastructure, people, and digital skills to support the country’s digital transformation and economic growth. These include a NZ$7.5 billion investment to build data centres in Aotearoa, which is estimated to create 1,000 new jobs and generate NZ$10.8 billion in GDP over the next 15 years.

AWS Lift is one of many AWS programs designed to help all Kiwi businesses to grow. In addition to supporting SMBs, AWS provides credits, technical support, and training to support startups in their growth through AWS Activate. Hundreds of thousands of startups around the world, including local Kiwi businesses such as agritech startup Halter, investment platform Sharesies, and orchard management tool Hectre, have benefitted from AWS Activate. Since 2020, Amazon has provided more than US$2 billion in AWS credits to help startups accelerate and grow their business. Our broad range of programs also extends to AWS Partners, who are critical and always have been central to the success of AWS and our customers. We are helping partners to help them unlock new routes to market through AWS Marketplace and providing valuable business, marketing, and technical support to AWS Partner Network community.

“Our collective investments and programs are helping businesses increase agility, lower operating costs, and drive innovation – even during tough economic conditions. Instead of scaling back operations, businesses can grow with AWS. With today’s launch of the AWS Lift program, AWS is looking forward to working with SMBs to save, scale and secure their business,” said Bloomquist.