Preparedness Key to Canterbury Business Success in 2012

Press Release – Recovery Canterbury

A strong and realistic business plan coupled with an openness to ask for and accept support are two of the key ingredients to business success in 2012, according to Canterbury’s leading business recovery agency. Recover Canterbury was established …Media Release, for immediate release, 27 December 2011

PREPAREDNESS KEY TO CANTERBURY BUSINESS SUCCESS IN 2012


A strong and realistic business plan coupled with an openness to ask for and accept support are two of the key ingredients to business success in 2012, according to Canterbury’s leading business recovery agency.

Recover Canterbury was established after the earthquakes to provide direct support for Canterbury businesses. The organisation is a collaboration between the Canterbury Development Corporation, the Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce and various Government agencies involved in business support.

Recover Canterbury Communications Manager Pip Tschudin says 2011 has seen businesses demonstrate the most remarkable courage, resilience and commitment to our city.

“While 2012 offers some tremendous opportunities in terms of the billions of dollars that are to be invested in our city there will be new challenges, and our business community needs to be prepared for that,” says Mrs Tschudin.

Recover Canterbury is readying itself for an influx of businesses requesting help in the New Year. Challenges such as the end of business interruption insurance and the traditionally quiet post-Christmas period are expected to put an extra squeeze on those businesses already under pressure, and the quakes on 23 December will not help the situation.

“We are encouraging business owners to contact us early in the New Year so we can provide them with the support and resources they need to overcome the hurdles and capitalise on the opportunities ahead. Christchurch as a city is facing an exciting and prosperous future and we want to ensure our local businesses are part of that,” says Mrs Tschudin.

Since the February earthquake Recover Canterbury has worked with more than 6,000 businesses providing various levels of advice and support, including:

• Distribution of more than $500,000 worth of training for Canterbury business owners and managers through New Zealand Trade and Enterprise’s Capability Building voucher scheme.
• Provision of $70,000 in funding from the Ministry of Economic Development to promote the reopening of some of the city’s much loved precincts, such as Victoria Street, Re: Start in Cashel Mall, Woolston Village and Edgeware Village.
• Distribution of more than $3.3 million dollars in grants and interest free loans to 215 businesses, through the Canterbury Business Recovery Trust.
One business that has received a hand up from Recover Canterbury is Optica Life Accessories, which manufactures and markets accessories in the opticians market. After losing their Ferrymead premise and 25% of their stock in the February quake, they faced a battle with their overseas markets.

“Our clients thought we had dropped into the sea. We had to assure them that it was business as usual but, like for many businesses, cashflow was tight and it was hard to find the funds to do that,” says Optica Managing Director John Nichol.

While the company covered the cost of visiting their Asian suppliers, Recover Canterbury gave Optica a $28,000 grant to attend the ODMA Fair in Sydney, which is the biggest Australasian optical industry event.

“We had been investing heavily in Australia and were doing 33% of our business there. The support from Recover Canterbury and funding from the Canterbury Business Recovery Trust allowed us to have a really professional and credible presence at the ODMA Fair and to lift our awareness in both the New Zealand and Australian markets. It’s generated a huge number of leads which we are actively pursuing,” says Mr Nichol.

Despite the upheaval of the earthquakes, Optica’s sales have increased in Australia and have remained stable in New Zealand.

“There were days when we wondered how we would survive this, but we’ve got back on track much faster than we ever thought. We now have a stronger team and a much greater focus on where we are going, and I think we’ve developed into a more robust business as a result,” says Mr Nichol.

Mrs Tschudin says Optica’s story demonstrates what can be achieved, with Recover Canterbury’s help.

“One of our biggest challenges is getting businesses to ask for help. Too often business owners put on a brave face and shy away from asking for help or insist that the support go to those more in need, when the reality is their business could really do with the kind of hand up that Recover Canterbury can provide,” says Mrs Tschudin.

“In the context of what our city and communities have been through, the business sector has survived remarkably well overall and we need to recognise and celebrate that. We have just been through one of the biggest natural disasters in New Zealand’s history and yet freight levels, manufacturing sector statistics and Eftpos transactions all point to a stable business environment. We want 2012 to be the year when we take that to the next level and see businesses make the most of the opportunities ahead and start to really thrive,” says Mrs Tschudin.


About the Canterbury Business Recovery Trust

The Canterbury Business Recovery Trust was established after the Christchurch earthquake to help businesses survive, revive and thrive. The Trust is administered by Recover Canterbury and provides cash injections into viable but earthquake-affected businesses. 100% of the funds donated to the Trust go to supporting Christchurch businesses.

Some of the key expenses businesses are requesting funds for include business planning and development costs, costs associated with relocation and fit out, access to expert advice and assistance, marketing costs and bridging finance.
The Trustees of the Canterbury Business Recovery Trust are Bruce Irvine, Andrew Thorburn, Humphry Rolleston, Lady Adrienne Stewart and Sir John Anderson.

About Recover Canterbury
Recover Canterbury was established after the Christchurch earthquakes to accelerate business recovery and prepare businesses for future growth. It is a collaboration between the Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce and the Canterbury Development Corporation, along with various government agencies involved in business support.

Recover Canterbury offers a wide range of services and resources to help businesses recover and revive, including advice, training and mentoring, referrals to professional services, assistance with business issues such as raising capital and access to the financial assistance provided through the Canterbury Business Recovery Trust.

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