Successes flying under the radar
There have been a lot of good news stories for our Central Otago economy to celebrate of late, with the announcement of $14.7 million government funding for the new Centre for Space Science Technology, many new businesses opening up and building activity steadily increasing.
Something that often flies under the radar is the success of the Regional Business Partner Network in our district.
In Central Otago, 135 businesses have engaged with Regional Business Partners since 2011. Fifty-five of these have received New Zealand Trade and Enterprise capability vouchers, which have been redeemed to subsidise development and training opportunities to the value of nearly $110,000.
Each of these businesses have made the conscious decision to look at ways to improve their business performance in some way. They have reached a turning point where rather than continue just ticking along they’ve sought to inject some new thinking and see how that might help their business evolve and grow.
The Central Otago District Council recently confirmed arrangements for the continued delivery of the RBP scheme, which matches small and medium-sized businesses with the support and training they need to grow. Council has engaged business consultant Tara Druce to coordinate the programme in our district.
Tara works in partnership with business advisors from the Otago Chamber of Commerce, Otago Southland Employers Association and Dunedin City Council to match Central Otago businesses with the support they require.
We’re talking a tailored approach matching a specific business’ needs with advice on next steps, contacts and training suggestions that are the best fit for their business.
The assessment allows businesses to gain perspective from an independent, experienced business advisor in a confidential environment. Businesses that export, plan to export or show growth potential can also be eligible for subsidies on training and business coaching under the Regional Business Partner Voucher Scheme.
The programme can also link businesses to business mentors through Business Mentors New Zealand, as well as research and development grants and support through Callaghan Innovation - the government agency tasked with making New Zealand businesses more innovative.
I would encourage business owners, as they plan for 2017 and beyond, to consider making that first step to make an appointment for an assessment and grasp this opportunity with two hands. There’s nothing to lose and potentially a great deal to gain by exploring what RBP can offer your business.
❚ For more information on RBP contact Tara on 021 216 6543 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Warwick Hawker is the CODC’s economic development manager.