Registrations on the Regional Business Partner Network (RBP) have seen a 876% increase year-on-year, indicating an overwhelming demand for the Government support on offer.
Due to this nationwide demand, the Auckland region has met its allocated funding allowance. There is still funding available in other regions nationwide.
What is RBP?
RBP is a government initiative, available year-round, to support small and medium-sized enterprises that are looking to grow and innovate. The RBP Network consists Growth Advisors across 14 regions who work with business owners to assist with their growth plans through connections, advice and support.
Growth Advisors take a birds-eye look the whole business, then help them to connect with the right resources and experts to build capability and grow.
Advisors can support businesses with Capability Development Funding to build management skills, provide access to the wider business and innovation community, Getting Started Research and Development Grants, and mentoring services from Business Mentors New Zealand.
Tauranga Chamber of Commerce currently holds the contract for delivery of the RBP Network in the Bay of Plenty region, in partnership with Eastern Bay Chamber of Commerce, Rotorua Business Chamber and Poutama Trust.
Due to the significant impact on small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) following the COVID-19 crisis, RBP was identified as a scalable, existing network that had the ability to reach SMEs to provide business continuity support as the impacts of COVID-19 became known.
As such, RBP Growth Advisors have now become facilitators of the COVID-19 Business Advisory Fund, and COVID-19 Business Advisory Fund and Tourism Transition Fund, in addition to their day-to-day support services.
Growth Advisors will help business owners identify and prioritise key needs, and allocate them a ‘voucher’ to be used with a suitable registered service provider. This voucher covers the costs of their expert advice and support.
Uptake of support to date has been primarily from small and small to medium firms, with more than 90% of vouchers going to firms with less than 20 employees, and 80% going to firms with less than 10 employees.
As of September 30, more than 12,300 businesses nationwide received support from the COVID-19 Business Advisory voucher scheme and more than 1,900 service providers have registered.
The areas businesses can use the COVID-19 Business Advisory Fund to access advisory support on include:
- Health and Wellness.
- Business Continuity Planning.
- Finance and Cashflow Management.
- Marketing support.
- Business strategy.
- Digital enablement services.
- Other specialist advisory services to support businesses respond to COVID-19 can/will be added as required.
The eligibility requirements for businesses for the COVID-19 Fund are:
- have a New Zealand Business Number (NZBN)
- are registered with the RBP;
- have fewer than 100 full time equivalent employees;
- are registered for GST in New Zealand;
- are operating in a commercial environment; and
- are a privately owned businesses, or are a Maori Trust or incorporation under the Te Ture Whenua Maori Act 1993 or similar organisation managing Maori assets under multiple ownership.
Not eligible for funding? We can help
There are other resources available through the RBP Network to help businesses, including:
- Growth Advisors in your region who can help you navigate to the right support options,
- Management Capability Development Fund for those wanting to undertake training activities (this offers co-funding of these training courses),
- Tourism Transitions Funding for tourism businesses seeking advice.
- Business Mentoring NZ mentoring services,
- R&D Funding and Support.
Note: Eligibility criteria and funding ratios for these are different from the COVID-19 Fund.