14 July 2020

RBP funding extension will make a “critical difference” to Canterbury economy 

Today’s announcement of a $40 million funding extension for the Regional Business Partner (RBP) Network has been welcomed by Regional Partner, the Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce. 
Minister for Small Business Hon Stuart Nash and Minister for Economic Development Hon Phil Twyford announced today that the national business support service jointly funded by NZTE and Callaghan Innovation will receive $37.25 million to directly fund professional advisory services and $2.75 million to increase resourcing within the Network. This is in addition to $15 million invested in March. 
Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Leeann Watson says the extended funding will make a critical difference for many businesses in the region enabling them to get the right advice at the right time. 
“The Regional Business Partner Network ensures businesses access the right advice from the right providers, removing barriers and ensuring they have access to expertise that helps build the capabilities they need to navigate a changing environment.  
“This has never been more important as businesses navigate an unprecedented, rapidly evolving business environment and face a very uncertain future. Given the ‘new normal’ of the post-COVID-19 environment, and with stopgap funding such as the Wage Subsidy ending soon, now more than ever businesses need to think and act differently to ensure they recover and reposition moving forward.” 
“As we saw after the Canterbury earthquakes, expert advice for businesses in the early days – especially for small businesses – will help to avoid business failure and protect the livelihoods of our wider community and expedite our economic recovery.” 
Ms Watson says The Chamber has seen a significant spike in the number of businesses accessing the support as a direct result of the COVID-19 situation and this additional funding will ensure that those who have not yet accessed support, can now do so. 
“Over the last few months, our RBP advisors have helped business across all sectors with a range of challenges, such as re-sizing and restructuring, meeting health and safety requirements, digital enablement and export disruption, while also helping businesses to make the most of opportunities, including accessing R&D funding and various training programmes in areas such as leadership and human resources. 
“Along with the extension of the Small Business Loan Scheme to December, the additional RBP support will be welcomed by business and in particular small business, who we know have been significantly impacted by COVID-19 and need support to recover and respond to the new environment.”

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For more information, or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Leeann Watson, Chief Executive, 027 447 7775, [email protected]

The Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce (The Chamber) is a not-for-profit membership-based service organisation that has been the home and voice of business in the Canterbury region since 1859. Comprised of over 2,800 member organisations that represent over 70,000 employees, The Chamber’s purpose is to empower people in business by providing advisory and consultancy support in employment relations, human resources, health and safety, international trade, manufacturing, migrant support, research and development grants, and training and development in many areas.

Affiliated to BusinessNZ and the New Zealand Chambers of Commerce and Industry