Help For South Island Businesses Hit By Drought $137k Grant Approved

  • Peter McCardle
Business Development

Business Development Minister Peter McCardle has approved a grant of $137,250 to help small and medium size
businesses struggling in regions hard-hit by the drought in the lower South Island.

The grant is being made to the Company Rebuilders Trust, which is highly experienced in helping businesses experiencing
difficulty. The money will pay for a one-year business mentoring and advisory programme for SMEs (small and medium size

"Farms and their local communities are inter-linked and we have decided to help because it is clear that many businesses are
going through a tough time," Mr McCardle said.

The drought has had a big impact on farmers in the northern Southland, Central/North Otago and Southern Canterbury
regions, and dry conditions are expected to continue for another year at least. An estimated 13,000 farms have been affected,
and many rural businesses linked to farming have been hit as a result.

Company Rebuilders was set up in 1990 to help businesses in trouble. It is based in Christchurch and uses successful retired
business people to work alongside firms of less than 100 employees. It currently has 23 mentors, all of whom have
previously been chief executives of large companies or in senior management roles.

Company Rebuilders will work with the businesses free of charge and provide individual and flexible assistance tailored to
each businesses' needs.

The assistance will include:

  • visits to individual businesses 
  • mentoring of owner/operator and key staff 
  • arranging of refinancing/creditors meetings 
  • analysing marketing and sales figures 
  • working with other professionals involved in the business
  • helping with management of expenditure

Company Rebuilders will also purchase expert advice and training to help set up local networks and cluster groups to
provide ongoing support after the initial assistance ends.

The locations to be targeted include Te Anau, Mossburn, Lumsden, Riversdale, Alexandra, Roxburgh, Millers Flat, Ida
Valley, Omakau Valley, Ranfurly, Palmerston, Oamaru, Waitake Valley, Waimate and Kurow.

The project will run for 12 months, beginning shortly, and be run in partnership with the Otago and Waitaki Chambers of
Commerce, and the District Councils of Waitaki, Central Otago and Dunedin.