Great opportunity for Kiwi SMEs to grow (+Video)

Great opportunity for Kiwi SMEs to grow (+Video)

Small business with a plan to grow? Pitch for support through the $250,000 Westpac Business Growth Grant programme.

Launched this week, the programme will run for 6 weeks and New Zealand businesses with a turnover of less than $5 million can pitch their plan to grow in a bid to earn cash and professional services to help reach their goal.

Westpac's Head of Commercial Banking, Ian Hankins, said the Westpac Business Growth Grant programme was a result of the bank speaking with nearly 1,200 SMEs on the challenges they face in growing their business.

“We identified the top 10 challenges they face and developed this programme to provide some practical help. Accessing professional advice on how to structure their business, understanding the implications of growth on things such as tax, and attracting new customers are all challenges they face in growing, and we have tried to meet some of those with the growth grant programme,” Mr Hankins said.

“Our aim is for the Westpac Business Growth Grant to help those with a plan to grow overcome some of the challenges they face.”

The Top 10 challenges that SMEs told the bank they faced in trying to grow are:

  1. Attracting new customers

  2. Using a website effectively to attract new customers

  3. How to maximise social media

  4. Updating the business plan

  5. Marketing the business

  6. Maintaining and updating a website

  7. Accessing funds for growth

  8. Access to affordable professional services

  9. Adopting new technology for growth

  10. Generating referrals from existing customers

The Westpac Business Growth Grant programme will be road-showed across the country in June and July.

Small businesses will be selected by a panel of business experts some of which include Kathryn Wilson – Footwear Designer and owner of Kathryn Wilson, Peter Townsend – CEO at Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce, Michael Barnett – Chief Executive of the Auckland Regional Chamber of Commerce & Industry, and David O’Connor – Partner, Chairman BDO NZ.

From here they will be short-listed to a top-6 who will pitch their plan to a further panel of business experts.

All 6 businesses will be able to attend a 5 day summit where some of the country’s business thought leaders will speak in addition to receiving access to 8 hours of professional services. One business will receive $40,000 cash to support their plan as well as $10,000 advertising.

Aside from those 6 businesses, a further 4 will get access to 8 hours of professional services.

“We’ve listened to business owners and now we are walking the walk,” Mr Hankins said. “Whether they wear gumboots or a suit to work or come from a small corner of New Zealand or a city it doesn’t matter. It’s about their plan to grow the business.”

“With the right resources and advice, Kiwi businesses can tap into new markets in other regions and other countries quickly and smartly and we want to help them achieve their goals.”

Visit Westpac Business Growth Grant programme for more details.

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