Calling all NZ SMEs who want to grow

Calling all NZ SMEs who want to grow

The Westpac Business Growth Grant helps up and coming Kiwi businesses (with turnover under $5m) reach their potential, and entries to the 2016 programme are now open.

It doesn’t matter where you are based, which sector or industry you’re in, or even if you’re a Westpac customer or not.

Westpac’s Damian Sharkey stopped by Duncan Garner’s RadioLive Drive Time to talk about the Grant and how it’s helped last year’s winners to succeed.

Listen to the interview, or read the transcript below.


Duncan: We’ve got $50,000 in the studio and Damian Sharkey, he’s from Westpac and he’s got $50,000 to give away as part of a much wider promotion with Westpac. Mr Sharkey, good afternoon to you.

Damian Sharkey: Hi Duncan.

DG: So how does this work? This is the small to medium sized Business Growth Grant, isn’t it?

DS: Absolutely right. So what we’re looking to do is work with businesses who’ve got an aspiration to grow, and this package gives them a number of things to help them. That’s $40,000 cash to invest in their business, a $10,000 ad package, they get to go to Fiji and there’s a number of great inspirational speakers and advisors there, and they get a day’s worth of free consultation on their business.

DG: And you take 6 businesses to Fiji, don’t you?

DS: Correct. We take them through a dragon’s den, and we’ve got some really good business minds through New Zealand that will do that. We take them to Fiji and put them in front of this guy called Zac Da Silva, who really is a business coach.

DG: I’ve met him, good guy.

DS: He’s fantastic. And they get people like Graham Henry, he was there last year. This year we’ve got Hamish Carter, they’ve got Diane Foreman, and a whole lot of others and they get them to think about their business. Then they spend some time on the beach contemplating it…

DG: Over a cocktail.

DS: And what we found last year is actually the stories that came out of it were tremendous. The winner last year was guy called Ryan Sanders from Haka Tours. He takes tourists all through New Zealand, through ski, mountain biking, bus tours. What he did out of that was open the Haka Lodge in Taupo, so that was his next landmark. His business is growing really, really fast.

DG: And what did he do in Fiji? He came back with a checklist or something, didn’t he?

DS: Yeah, he had 10 things he wanted to do, and from what I can tell he’s implemented all of them.

DG: Wow. So these business that enter, they don’t have to be banking with Westpac?

DS: Absolutely not. So really the focus is on helping businesses with aspirations to grow, that’s what it’s all about.

DG: So you want them to enter how, and what do they need to say in their entry?

DS: What they should do is go to, tell us about your dream and then you’re in to win.

DG: And you will pick 6 of those to go to Fiji, and then you pick one ultimate winner for the cash?

DS: Correct, absolutely right.

DG: I met a guy recently and he was from Hireace, and he went last year to Fiji. He said it enabled him to take a break from his business, and look back into his business while he was in Fiji and go “ok I can improve here, here, and here” and he came back with some great ideas. Gives you a break a bit, doesn’t it?

DS: That one is interesting in particular because if you think about where digital’s going, you go into Z petrol stations and see Hireace. Guy Clouth’s the guy you’re talking about. What he’s done is he’s said “what I need to do is have a digital presence where people can go into these places and book trailers without the hassle of signing documents and that sort of thing”. Again he’s growing very, very fast.

DG: Remind me of how people can enter.


DG: It’s all there. I recommend you do it. I met some people recently who had entered it and it took them about 15 or 20 minutes, so it’s not that hard. Sharkey, nice to see you.

DS: You too.

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