Certificate in Small Business

& Project Management

  • Level 4
  • 36 weeks - full-time
  • No fees

Programme overview:

Whether you’re in business or are just starting one, this programme will give you the skills and knowledge to build and run a business.

The Certificate in Small Business and Project Management is an in-depth programme that teaches you essential skills to start and run a business – from marketing, business planning and customer service, right through to accounting and project management.

When you pass this programme, you'll get these qualifications:

  • NZ Certificate in Business (Small Business) Level 4
  • NZ Certificate in Project Management Level 4

You'll learn about:

  • project planning, review and presentation
  • business planning and operations
  • accounting and finance
  • technology
  • marketing and research
  • staff management, leadership and teamwork
  • project management
  • sales and customer service

You'll be able to:

  • develop a business plan for a small business, which is suitable for external stakeholders, and which addresses management of finances, HR, marketing, technology, relationships with stakeholders, sources of information and support
  • operate and manage a small business to improve business performance and meet stakeholder requirements
  • behave professionally and ethically, and in a socially and culturally responsible manner, and apply personal and interpersonal skills to manage a small business
  • support a project(s) through its life cycle, through the selection and application of project management knowledge, tools, and techniques
  • lead aspects of a project(s) under broad guidance
  • behave professionally and ethically, and in a socially and culturally responsible manner, and apply personal and interpersonal skills to support the performance of the project


The purpose of this qualification is to provide Aotearoa with people who have the knowledge and skills to establish, operate, grow, and sustain a small business. They will be able to can carry out a broad range of support roles as a project team member and take responsibility for some parts of a project(s). This qualification will benefit Aotearoa by increasing project success through consistent application of project management skills.

Graduates of this qualification will be able to apply business skills and knowledge to a small business, in accordance with ngā kaupapa o te Tiriti o Waitangi (the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi), and in a multi-cultural environment.

How you'll study:

This is a full-time programme that consists of 120 credits delivered over 36 weeks. Throughout the programme you will be required to attend:

  • 1 x 3-hour class per week 
  • workshops (approximately 2 hours per week)
  • 1 x 6-hour wānanga - workshop in the final week

In addition to these attendance hours, you’ll be expected to complete learning activities designed to enhance your learning for:

  • approximately 28 hours per week
  • Tauira will need to engage in the Te Wānanga o Aotearoa digital platform I-Akoranga throughout the programme. Internet access and a digital device is needed to enhance the tauira learning experience.

    In some locations this programme might be provided by an approved sub-contract arrangement.

    Entry criteria:

    To enrol in this programme, a potential ākonga must:

    • be at least 16 years of age
    • be a New Zealand citizen (or citizen of Australia, Tokelau, Niue, Cook Islands) or permanent resident
    • reside in New Zealand
    • be a graduate of a Level 3 business qualification (or higher) or demonstrate competence in a literacy exercise that reflects the comprehension and writing abilities for the programme
    • satisfy one of the following requirements:
      • have a business idea which they are ready to develop
      • be an existing business owner, or
      • be involved in the management of an existing small business for which they can develop a detailed business plan
    • attend an information session and an enrolment interview

    Where will this take me?

    I want to keep studying

    Learn to grow your business with our next-level programme, the Diploma in Small Business and Project Management Level 5.

    I want to use my qualification

    You'll graduate with NZQA-approved qualifications to show your skills and knowledge to run your own business and manage a project within a business setting.

    Kōnae Ako (Learning Modules):

    Business and Project Planning (He Mahere Whakahaere i te Pakihi) | 17 Credits

    This kōnae ako (module) provides an introduction to both project planning and the business plan. Tauira (students) will learn about project planning tools and techniques, the components of a project and components of a business plan. Tauira will develop their plan for the business planning project which will be completed over the duration of the programme, and then complete the first component of the business plan, the Strategic Profile.

    Industry and Market Analysis (He Tōmiro Ahumahi) | 17 Credits

    This kōnae ako involves researching the industry and market for a business. Tauira will complete a situational analysis incorporating the use of external analysis tools and will consider social, cultural and environmental factors and opportunities relating to their business. An introduction to market research is also covered within the kōnae ako, with tauira learning how to prepare a research brief and questionnaire.

    Operations and Customer Service (He Manaaki Kaihoko me te Pakihi) | 20 Credits

    This is one of the larger kōnae ako within the programme, covering topics relating to operational areas such as customer service and sales, communications, production processes and technology, online business and business law. The operational aspect of implementing and monitoring a project is also covered, with tauira implementing and reporting on the progress of the market research project they planned in the previous
    kōnae ako.

    Human Resource Management (He Whakahaere Kaimahi) | 17 Credits

    In this kōnae ako, tauira will learn about the human resource aspects of operating and growing a business. From a planning perspective, topics covered include organisational structure, managing change and exit strategies. Operational topics include the recruitment process, employment agreements, training and retaining staff, managing employment problems and employment law. Whilst the focus of this module is on managing and communicating with staff, tauira also learn about communication skills in the form of facilitating a focus group.

    Marketing (He Whakatairanga) | 17 Credits

    This kōnae ako focuses on marketing. Tauira learn how to analyse and use the results of market research, and in doing so complete the market research project they commenced in Kōnae Ako 2 - Industry and Market Analysis. The remainder of the kōnae ako covers the fundamental marketing concepts including target markets, positioning and the components of the marketing mix.

    Accounting and Finance (Te Whakahaere Pūtea) | 23 Credits

    This is the largest kōnae ako within the programme. Tauira learn about the practical aspects of small business accounting and bookkeeping processes. This includes record keeping, completing GST returns and complying with income tax requirements, as well as understanding financial reports. Financial planning is also covered within the kōnae ako, with tauira completing cashflow and profit forecasts and identifying the financing needs of the business.

    Project Review and Presentation (He Whakaaturanga) | 9 Credits

    In this final kōnae ako, tauira review and report on the business plan project that they work on throughout the entire programme. There is a focus on communication skills, with tauira giving oral presentations about their project.

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