SMEs get more support from government

Following the success of the first Covid-related cash injection, the New Zealand government is rolling out further support for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

The Ministers for Economic Development Phil Twyford and Small Business Stuart Nash have announced a further $40 million for the Regional Business Partners Network, on top of the $15 million invested since March.

“The Regional Business Partners scheme has been hugely successful since the first Covid-related cash injection of $15 million,” Twyford said. “The new support will keep up that momentum.”

The new funding includes $37.25 million to directly fund the professional advisory services and $2.75 million to increase resourcing within the network. Eligibility criteria can be found at the NZTE site under Regional Business Partner Network. 

Twyford said more than 6,200 businesses have benefited from free advice. Another 4,600 have registered to take part. Support for firms with up to 100 staff is delivered via vouchers for professional advisory services worth up to $5,000.

“Regional Business Partners connect firms to expert advice at no cost to the business. Advice covers topics like business strategy, finance and cash flow, continuity planning, HR and employment relations, digital services, marketing, and health and wellness for owners and staff,” he said.

“We now have one of the most open economies in the world but we know it remains a challenging time for businesses. We want more of them to get professional advice to help grow and innovate as our economy continues to open up.”

According to Twyford, the Regional Business Partners’ longstanding partnerships with NZTE and Callaghan Innovation offers a fast and localised way to get practical support to business, especially the small and medium firms that are the backbone of the economy.

“The funding enables the RBP Network of 1,300 registered professional service providers to deliver free business advice and training to SMEs to build their capabilities,” Nash said.

“The professional support is in huge demand from our smallest businesses, those with ten or fewer staff,” Nash added. “This is the same cohort of SMEs who have been most enthusiastic about other government support like interest-free loans and the wage subsidy.”

Around 60 per cent of businesses who have used the Regional Business Partners Network for professional support are firms with five or fewer staff. Around 80 per cent have 10 or fewer workers. There’s strong interest from manufacturing, tourism, construction, and retail businesses.


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