Small businesses with a plan to grow will be able to pitch for support through the $250,000 Westpac Business Growth Grant programme.
Launching today, the programme will run for six 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.
Head of Commercial, 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:
Attracting new customers
Using a website effectively to attract new customers
How to maximise social media
Updating the business plan
Marketing the business
Maintaining and updating a website
Accessing funds for growth
Access to affordable professional services
Adopting new technology for growth
Generating referrals from existing customers
The Westpac Business Growth Grant programme will be road-showed across the country in June and July.
From the submissions, six will be chosen to pitch their plan to a panel of business experts’. All six businesses will be able to attend a five day summit where some of the country’s business thought leaders will speak in addition to receiving access to eight hours of professional services. One business will receive $40,000 cash to support their plan as well as $10,000 advertising.
Aside from those six businesses, a further four will get access to eight 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.”
Details on the Westpac Business Growth Grant can be found here: www.westpac.co.nz/growthgrant