REACHING FOR A HAND UP 1000 1206 The Flyer Magazine



About $800,000 in business support and coaching has been dished out to small businesses in the Wakatipu that have been affected by the Covid-19 lockdowns, says Otago Regional Business Partner Network business growth manager Tara Druce.

The grants are part of the Government-funded Regional Business Partner Network administered in the Otago region by the Otago Chamber of Commerce.

There’s been a big uptake from some of the many tourism and hospitality businesses badly affected by the Covid-19 crisis and Tara says the money goes straight to local providers to help businesses get back on their feet.


Tara Druce.

About $2 million has been paid out to local business assistance providers throughout Otago since the main lockdown commenced.

It’s mostly been about getting businesses moving again, restarting their cash flow and getting some business continuity going,” says Tara.

The team has a large number of assistance providers at the ready to give local businesses a hand up. They’ve been overwhelmed with demand since the government offered the two extra grant offerings – Covd-19 Business Advisory Funding and Tourism Transition Funds, says Tara. However, with more government funding for two people on the ground in Queenstown to help administer the programme things had become much more manageable. Those two tourism business specialists, Ben Chapman and Amanda Cushen, have been working with local businesses since the beginning of August.

Small businesses can tap into up to $5000 of business assistance, depending on their individual needs. Tourism businesses may also be eligible for support from the Tourism Transitions Fund. The help comes in the form of paid hours of advice with the grant funding going straight to the providers to assist. While some businesses have needed help with re-pivoting to position themselves online, others have needed help switching from a primarily international visitor focus to a domestic one, says Tara.

Assistance is available for everything from HR (Human Resources) – employment relations and legal work, financial and cash flow management, health and wellness – resilience, productivity and change, to business continuity planning and the likes of switching to remote work, marketing and digital enablement.

“Our providers offer a lot of strategies and advice,” says Tara. A number of tourism businesses have also sought help as to how to hibernate their businesses while they ride out the current storm.