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Source: Auckland Council

Auckland’s economic development agency wants the region’s businesses to know it has their backs – and wants help to spread the word.

Businesses with up to 49 employees make up 98.6 per cent of Auckland businesses and together employ more than 415,000 Aucklanders.

“We know many have been seriously affected by the impacts of COVID-19. We welcome businesses reaching out and asking for help, and we’re working hard to connect as many as possible – of all sizes and sectors – with available support,” says Pam Ford, General Manager Economic Development at Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED).

“We’re the Government’s delivery partner for Regional Business Partner [RBP] Network COVID-19 Business Advisory Fund and more recently the Tourism Transitions Fund.

“Since March, we’ve helped thousands of Auckland businesses access fully funded expert business advice, to the total value of nearly $10 million.”

“Help is available. Connect with us, and tell your fellow business owners support is available. Share this information with them.”

Eligible businesses can access fully funded expert advice, such as how best to manage cashflow, set up a marketing plan to reach more customers, develop a strategy to get their business online and work on a business continuity plan. You could be eligible to access expert advice or consultancy via the RBP for services in key areas: 

  • HR, employee relations and legal – including restructures, employment contracts, legal obligations and HR processes, and ownership structures 
  • Financial and cashflow management – including cashflow forecasting, business scenario forecasting, capital raising and debt restructuring 
  • Health and wellness – including health and safety plans, employee wellbeing plans and stress management coaching 
  • Business continuity planning – including crisis management, pivot strategies and business continuity plans or business resilience plans 
  • Marketing strategy – including plans for marketing, product launches, digital marketing and reaching new customers 
  • Digital enablement strategy – including social media strategy, ecommerce strategy, website optimisation, and digital customer journey mapping 
  • Business hibernation (for tourism businesses only) – including business debt hibernation processes and scenario planning 

Businesses who haven’t previously accessed RBP support need to first register on the RBP website (have your GST number and NZBN number handy). Auckland businesses already registered can email the ATEED Business Helpdesk to apply for support – even if you’ve had initial support from the COVID-19 Business Advisory Fund, you may be eligible for more assistance (up to $5000 per business).

Chris Sattler from Auckland Seaplanes is one of the business operators who tapped into the support: “We needed to change our marketing approach to attract and serve the domestic market, so getting expert assistance with this has been really helpful. I recommend that every tourism business reaches out for help right now – there are a lot of decisions to make and having experts on your side is gold.” 

Anna Irving, from SME People, says the support has made a real difference: “The COVID-19 Business Advisory Fund has been a game-changer for me and my business. My service provider was both empathetic and commercially minded in identifying what would create the best impact, and my strategic coach has delivered beyond expectations.” 

ATEED also has useful resources and information online to help businesses navigate the impacts of COVID-19.

Businesses can also contact the official COVID-19 Business Helpline on North Island – 0800 500 362 for advice on broader Government support.  

“As an Auckland business, you’re not alone – we’re here with you and we’re keen to connect you to the wide network of business support out there,” says Pam Ford.