Focus and evolve

If you’re already exporting, and have a planned and committed approach to accelerating your international growth, you may benefit from working with us as a Focus customer.


We’ve worked out that we invest, on average, $150,000 per annum in our Focus customers. In return, to become a Focus customer you need to show us that you’re ready to scale internationally, by meeting prerequisites.These aren’t precise criteria, but they’re important indicators of where you’re at in your international growth journey. When looking at potential Focus customers, we’ll consider your existing business situation along with your potential future growth, and the impact for New Zealand as well as for your own business.

  • You need to be willing to engage closely with us, and share a high level of information. This includes sharing your overall business plan, as well as your domestic and international revenue for the last three years.
  • You  need to commit senior leadership time to working with NZTE, and be willing to partner with us on a detailed plan for your international growth.
  • You need to clearly show growth potential on a scale that benefits New Zealand. We measure these potential benefits to New Zealand in terms of new jobs, increased tax flows, contribution to GDP, as well as increased supplier spend and ongoing R&D activities in New Zealand.
  • You need to show capability and capacity for international growth. This includes a solid revenue base (usually at least $3 million) and sufficient people and resources to make your planned growth happen. Other indicators include high revenue per FTE or an easily scalable business model.
  • You also need to have the ability to fund your growth, whether from a suitable debt to asset ratio, or through capital backing and investors that support your plans.
  • You need to demonstrate ambition for international growth. This includes putting in the time and resources of your senior management team, having strategic plans, visiting target markets regularly, and committing to R&D and business expansion – all visible signs that you’re committed to speeding up your growth.
  • You need to have evidence of international performance. This includes showing how your international revenue has tracked against your projections, and how you’re gearing up for proposed growth, as well as proof of market validation and international customer demand for what you’re offering.

We’ll also take into account:

  • whether your business is built around value-added, knowledge-intensive or premium products and services – generally, we can add more value to these businesses than we can for businesses based around commodity trading.
  • wider factors related to your industry or type of business – for instance, in lieu of sales, we might consider customer acquisition rates for early-stage digital businesses, or asset base and future revenue potential for Māori businesses.

Contact our Advisor Team to understand what NZTE is looking for in a Focus customer.

What we offer Focus customers

As you focus on international expansion, you’ll work with a dedicated customer manager who partners with you and taps into our global team to help you achieve your international growth goals. You’ll have priority access to NZTE’s full suite of services, resources and networks, as part of a tailored plan to grow your capability, boost your global reach, invest in your growth and connect to other businesses.

As a Focus customer, you’ll have access to tailored support designed to strengthen your business and unlock its full potential for long-term international growth. 

You’ll get support to help you identify and overcome barriers to growth, and take action on priority areas for improvement within your business.

We’ll partner with you to explore what’s possible for your business internationally, including helping you take a fresh look at your strategy, purpose and long-term goals, and helping you tackle the big questions around governance and leadership.

We also offer in-depth services designed to increase your sales – whether by developing and submitting more effective tenders, navigating complex buying environments, or making the most of digital technology to reach customers. Our support for Focus customers includes how to implement design thinking - a powerful approach that can give you a deep understanding of your international customers’ needs and pain points and help you create breakthrough products and services.

As you develop your international business, we’ll connect you with advice from others walking the same path, including other businesses and our network of private sector advisors who’ve faced the challenges of ongoing international growth.

You’ll also be invited to upcoming events in New Zealand to fit your interests and priorities.

All of this support is coordinated through a customer manager, who will work with you intensively and marshal NZTE’s people and networks into one team focused on building your business.

When working with you as a Focus customer, we can deploy the full resources of our local and international networks - giving you rapid access to support in over 100 markets around the world.

You’ll get priority access to our international staff, who will work with you to develop market-specific plans (in line with your overall growth strategy) and deliver customised support and research to make them a reality. You’ll also be able to draw on our wider networks, including local experts and private sector advisors, to guide your market entry and expansion.

Customers at the Focus stage receive regular updates on NZTE activities in New Zealand and internationally, as well as invitations to key events, trade shows, promotions and in-market immersion programmes.

On top of all this, you’ll have access to NZTE’s online resources and to our tender and project databases (in Australia and Pacific) – making it easy to get the essentials right while you’re building an international business.

We work closely with our Focus customers on their investment and capital needs – because significant international growth only happens when you’ve got the resources to fuel it.

As a Focus customer, you’ll have priority access to our investment managers, who can help you develop a detailed investment plan – including identifying the right avenues to meet your investment needs, creating a multi-pronged capital raising approach, and exploring options for exit planning.

Sitting behind this one-on-one support is our investment-readiness service which you’ll be able to draw upon to fill any gaps in your investment readiness, as well as our Te Aukaha investment workshops tailored for Māori businesses.

You’ll also benefit from bespoke connections to international and local investors, as well as invitations to exclusive seminars and opportunities to highlight your potential to key influencers at our investment showcases.

Focus customers can also access co-investment (on a 60:40 basis) for specific growth projects, via our International Growth Fund. There are additional criteria for this.

When you’re working hard to get traction in a key market, partnering with like-minded businesses can make a big difference – especially once you’re committed to significant growth.

We can support high-potential in-market coalitions using all the resources and assistance that we offer to individual Focus customers. We also offer specialist expertise to help your coalition grow in international markets, find the right options for structure, governance and risk management, and navigate potential mergers within the coalition.

Outside of coalitions, as an individual Focus customer you’ll also get opportunities to connect with other businesses and learn from their experiences, through our range of events and activities here and internationally.