Business support to continue

GLENN CONWAY
Last updated 11:05 25/06/2012

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Canterbury's dedicated post-quake business support service will continue until the end of April next year and not shut up shop at the end of this week as first planned.

Recover Canterbury was established after the earthquakes by the Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce, the Canterbury Development Corporation and various government agencies to work directly with earthquake-affected businesses to help accelerate their recovery.

It was initially funded to run until the end of this month.

Recover Canterbury chairman Bruce Irvine said ongoing seismic events and the subsequent impacts on infrastructure, people and businesses left some Canterbury businesses in a fragile state and in need of extra support.

"While some businesses have recovered and others are enjoying a surge in activity post-quake, a number of businesses are still struggling with earthquake-related issues and need dedicated, targeted help for longer to fully recover and prosper," he said.

Extra funding from the Ministry of Economic Development and the support of other Government agencies, the Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce and the Canterbury Development Corporation contributed to its service extension.

Recover Canterbury has 20 business recovery co-ordinators who work directly with earthquake-affected businesses providing free support and advice, referrals to agencies or professional services, access to training and, for eligible business, financial assistance.

Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce chief executive Peter Townsend said the extension was great news for the Canterbury business community.

Canterbury Development Corporation chief executive Tom Hooper said Recover Canterbury had delivered some "tremendous outcomes'' to date in terms of providing real and meaningful support which has enabled businesses to get back on their feet.

Since its establishment Recover Canterbury has:

- Been in contact with around 6700 Canterbury businesses

- Provided in-depth support to around 1300 businesses

- Assisted more than 325 businesses receive financial support from the Canterbury Business Recovery Trust, which has distributed $5 million in grants and loans

- Helped 264 businesses access the Red Cross' Independent Advice for Small Business grant

- Worked with more than 540 Canterbury businesses to help them access training for business owners or managers through New Zealand Trade and Enterprise's Capability Building voucher scheme

- Assisted nine groups of businesses to promote the reopening of or reestablishment of various precincts around Canterbury, such as Victoria St, Edgeware Village, Sydenham, Papanui, Sumner and Lyttelton.

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