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Wellington businesses given a hand to stay afloat

WellingtonNZ has distributed vouchers worth more than $1 million to nearly 500 businesses in the Wellington region to help them manage the impact of COVID-19.

As the Regional Business Partner for the Wellington region, WellingtonNZ has interacted with and evaluated the needs of Wellington businesses to deliver vouchers for professional services worth just over $1 million.

Funding for the voucher scheme was provided by central Government through MBIE.

WellingtonNZ regional development general manager David Perks says most of the businesses, about 400, were supplied vouchers so they could receive cashflow and business continuity planning advice.

"These were the two major issues which dominated business owners’ thinking when New Zealand plunged into Alert Level 4 lockdown on March 26. They wanted solid advice on money matters and ways to plan for the future that would assist in the survival of their business.

"The remaining businesses were issued with vouchers for HR support and, to a lesser extent, marketing. In fact, as we move down the alert levels, we expect to see demand for marketing advice ramp up as companies explore ways to make their product or service stand out."

David says it was pleasing to see companies throughout the Wellington region benefit from the voucher scheme.

"Wellington city is the economic driver of the region and as expected it received the bulk of vouchers valued at $580,000. Hutt City ($179,000), Porirua ($69,000), Kapiti ($64,000) and Masterton ($54,000) rounded out the top five. But vouchers also went to firms based in Upper Hutt, South Wairarapa and Carterton."

The voucher scheme is part of a suite of initiatives WellingtonNZ has to assist regional businesses in their COVID business response. This includes a series of online webinars which to date have been accessed by more than 2000 businesses.

It also includes the free Thrive series of sector-specific interactive workshops to help owners rebuild and reimagine their Wellington-based businesses in the wake of COVID-19. The first two cohorts of 10 both start this week.

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