Tuesday, 14th July, 2020

Today’s announcement of a $40 million funding extension for the Regional Business Partner (RBP) Network has been well received by Regional Business Partner the South Canterbury  Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber looks after these services across the Timaru, Waimate and Mackenzie Districts.
Minister for Small Business Hon Stuart Nash and Minister for Economic Development Hon Phil Twyford announced today that the national business support service jointly funded by NZTE and Callaghan Innovation will receive $37.25 million to directly fund professional advisory services and $2.75 million to increase resourcing within the Network. This is in addition to $15 million invested in March. The COVID-19 Business Advisory Fund is 100% funding for expert advice.
“This extended funding will make a huge difference for many businesses, it enables them to receive independent advice and eyes on their businesses, as they look to recover and reposition after the impact of Covid-19” said Wendy Smith.  “We currently have a wait list of over 60 businesses looking for support.”

“The Regional Business Partner Network ensures businesses access the right advice from the right providers, removing barriers and ensuring they have access to expertise that helps build the capabilities they need to navigate a changing environment.”  
“Businesses are working their way through a rapidly evolving business environment and some businesses are facing a very different future. Funding support like the  Wage Subsidy and Wage Subsidy Extension will be ending soon and businesses need to think and act differently to ensure they recover and reposition moving forward.” 
“This additional funding will ensure that those who have not yet accessed support, can now do so” said Wendy Smith. “We also have available the smaller Aoraki Development Professional Services Grants that businesses are encouraged to make use of if based in the Timaru District and apply again to the Chamber.“ 
“Over the last few months the South Canterbury Chamber through the Regional Business Partner funding has supported business across all sectors with a range of issues, from re-sizing and restructuring, meeting health and safety requirements, digital enablement and export disruption.  Businesses have also accessed R&D funding and various training programmes in areas such as leadership, cash flow forecasting, planning and human resources. 
“With the extension of the Small Business Loan Scheme to December and the additional RBP support will be welcomed by business and in particular small business, who we know have been significantly impacted by COVID-19 and need support to recover and respond to the new environment.”

The Regional Business Network Management Capability Development Fund is also  available and offers businesses up to 50% co-funded support for management coaching and training services to build management capability within the business.