The 3 business initiatives

The Business Advisory Support, Advice Implementation Grant, and Tourism Kick-start Fund initiatives (the 3 business initiatives) are available to 5 South Island communities most impacted by the loss of international visitors.

Applications for the Business Advisory Support and Advice Implementation Grant opened on 31 August 2021 and are open until 31 August 2022.

Applications for the Tourism Kick-start Fund opened on 1 April 2022 and are currently open until 31 August 2022.

About the 3 business initiatives

The 3 business initiatives target tourism businesses in the 5 communities most affected by the loss of international tourism: Queenstown Lakes, Southland, Kaikōura, Mackenzie and Westland Districts.

The 3 business initiatives are:

  • $10 million Business Advisory Support (up to $5,000 per business operation) to enable businesses to receive expert advice and support, such as on changing target markets, or scaling their business.
  • $10 million in grants for businesses to implement business advice (up to $5,000 per business operation).
  • $49 million Tourism Kick-start Fund, to contribute towards existing tourism businesses scaling back up for the return of international visitors ($10,000 to $50,000 per business operation). The grant will be calculated based on 2 weeks of pre-COVID-19 revenue set at 2 weeks of annual revenue for either the 2018/19 or 2019/20 financial year. 

Tourism businesses can access funding through all 3 initiatives, if eligible. Each initiative provides 1 grant per business operation, and the business operation must be physically based within at least 1 of the 5 communities.

Inbound tour operators and transport providers based outside of the eligible districts that operate within the districts are not eligible for this support.

How were the 5 communities chosen?

When designing the Tourism Communities: Support, Recovery and Re-set Plan, the Government used the following criteria to assess which areas were most affected by the loss of international tourism and could therefore receive targeted support:

  1. That more than 10% of the region’s expenditure was on tourism in 2019
  2. That more than 50% of tourism spending in the district in 2019 was by international visitors (rather than domestic visitors)
  3. That consumer spending in the district, across all industries, had decreased by more than 10% for the year January 2020-2021.

The first 2 criteria helped to understand how reliant on international tourism these communities were prior to COVID-19. The third criterion demonstrates how the loss of international tourism has impacted not only the industry itself, but also the broader economies in these communities.

Organisations delivering the 3 business initiatives

The Business Advisory Support initiative is provided through the Regional Business Partner (RBP) Network, as this existing network is already capable of providing advice and connecting businesses to external support. The remaining Business Advice Implementation and Tourism Kick-start Fund initiatives are being delivered by Lead Entities, who have local knowledge and expertise.

The Lead Entities are:

  • Christchurch NZ (for Kaikōura and Mackenzie Districts)
  • Great South (for Southland District)
  • Queenstown Lakes District Council (for Queenstown Lakes District)
  • Development West Coast (for Westland District).

The role of the Lead Entity is to ensure businesses receive the support required for their individual and unique circumstances. Businesses will be able to have a conversation with a Growth Advisor (employed by the Lead Entity) about what support is right for them across the 3 business initiatives.

Business Advisory Support

The Business Advisory Support available for eligible businesses is a maximum of $5,000 per business operation (excluding GST). It enables businesses to receive expert advice and support through the RBP Network. This advice is in addition to any previous advice that a business may have received through the RBP Network.

The objective of the Business Advisory Support is to support long term outcomes for businesses. This includes helping businesses to make hard decisions to navigate and manage an uncertain long-term global and domestic outlook. 

Applications for the Business Advisory Support initiative are open until 31 August 2022.

Eligibility criteria

Your business must:

  1. be a GST registered business, or GST registered prior to COVID-19 (2019/20 financial year);
  2. have a New Zealand Business Number. If you do not have a New Zealand Business Number, you can register to get one on the NZBN website:
    Get your NZBN — there's one for every Kiwi business(external link) — NZBN
  3. be operating in a commercial environment;
  4. be a privately‐owned business or Māori Trust or incorporation under the Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993 or similar organisation managing Māori assets under multiple ownership;
  5. be a tourism business, which is defined as a business where at least 50% of its operational output is purchased by tourists (domestic or international), for example: Accommodation, Arts and Recreational Services, Food Services, Transport Services or Retail Trade. This can include service businesses whose output is purchased by tourism businesses; and
  6. be physically based within at least 1 of the 5 districts: Queenstown Lakes District, Southland District, Kaikōura District, Mackenzie District, or Westland District (1 grant per business operation).

Charitable Trusts, Incorporated Societies, Non-business entities, and Local and Central Governments are ineligible.

What can I get advice on?

Businesses can access expert advice and support in 1 or more of the following subject areas:

  • HR & employee relations and legal (e.g. contract law, legal requirements)
  • Financial and cash flow management (e.g. budgeting, forecasting, scenario planning)
  • Health and wellness (e.g. employee mental health & wellness, resilience building and stress management) 
  • Business continuity planning (e.g. workforce planning, risk management)
  • Marketing strategy (e.g. digital marketing strategy, branding, digital advertising)
  • Digital enablement strategy (e.g. website development, automated booking)
  • Hibernation and exit advice (e.g. liquidation support)
  • Management capability development (e.g. training services to improve management capability within the business).

Business Advice Implementation Grant

The Business Advice Implementation Grant available for eligible businesses is a maximum of $5000 per business operation (excluding GST). This grant is intended to support businesses to implement advice they have received through the Business Advisory Support initiative or a satisfactory alternative provider. This advice may come from multiple providers if the expense for each is approved, and the total across all providers does not exceed the total advice grant of $5000 per business operation (excluding GST).

This grant is only available to implement advice that the Lead Entity has approved. Advice must have been provided in a written format, so there is an audit trail for the grants. This could be as simple as a short description outlining the advice provided.

Applications for the Business Advice Implementation Grant are open until 31 August 2022.

Eligibility criteria

Your business must:

  1. be a GST registered business, or GST registered prior to COVID-19 (2019/20 financial year);
  2. have a New Zealand Business Number. If you do not have a New Zealand Business Number, you can register to get one on the NZBN website:
    Get your NZBN — there's one for every Kiwi business(external link) — NZBN
  3. be operating in a commercial environment;
  4. be a privately‐owned business or Māori Trust or incorporation under the Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993 or similar organisation managing Māori assets under multiple ownership;
  5. be a tourism business, which is defined as a business where at least 50% of its operational output is purchased by tourists (domestic or international), for example: Accommodation, Arts and Recreational Services, Food Services, Transport Services or Retail Trade. This can include service businesses whose output is purchased by tourism businesses;
  6. be physically based within at least 1 of the 5 districts: Queenstown Lakes District, Southland District, Kaikōura District, Mackenzie District, or Westland District (1 grant per business operation); and
  7. have received advice from the Regional Business Partner Network, or an alternative channel that has been approved by the Growth Advisor employed by the Lead Entity.

Charitable Trusts, Incorporated Societies, Non-business entities, and Local and Central Governments are ineligible.

What can the grant be spent on?

The Business Advice Implementation Grant can be used for operational activities in 1 or more of the following categories:

  • HR & employee relations and legal (e.g. contract law, legal requirements)
  • Financial and cash flow management (e.g. budgeting, forecasting, scenario planning)
  • Health and wellness (e.g. employee mental health & wellness, resilience building and stress management) 
  • Business continuity planning (e.g. workforce planning, risk management)
  • Marketing strategy (e.g. digital marketing strategy, branding, digital advertising)
  • Digital enablement strategy (e.g. website development, automated booking)
  • Hibernation and exit advice (e.g. liquidation support)
  • Management Capability Training and Coaching.

The Business Advice Implementation Grant cannot be used for:

  • advice already implemented and paid for (i.e. historic payments are ineligible)
  • anything that is not detailed in the professional advice already received
  • capital expenditure (e.g. purchasing computer hardware, vehicles, boats, planes)
  • employees of the business for advice implementation to mitigate the risk of conflicts of interest or perverse behaviour
  • any other situation where an actual, perceived or potential conflict of interest may exist, without prior written approval from the Lead Entity.

Tourism Kick-start Fund                                       

Alongside the Business Advisory Support initiative and Business Advice Implementation Grant, the Government is making wider support available through the Tourism Kick-start Fund ($49 million) to help tourism businesses in the 5 South Island communities prepare for the return of international visitors.

The Tourism Kick-start Fund available for eligible businesses is between a minimum of $10,000 to a maximum of $50,000 per business operation (excluding GST). This grant is a contribution to increasing businesses’ levels of service in preparation for the return of international visitors and should not be relied upon to sustain the business.

Applications for the Tourism Kick-start Fund are currently open until 31 August 2022.

Eligibility criteria

Your business must:

  1. be a GST registered business, or GST registered prior to COVID-19 (either the 2018/19 or 2019/20 financial year);
  2. have a New Zealand Business Number. If you do not have a New Zealand Business Number, you can register to get one on the NZBN website:
    Get your NZBN — there's one for every Kiwi business(external link) — NZBN
  3. be operating in a commercial environment;
  4. be a privately‐owned business or Māori Trust or incorporation under the Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993 or similar organisation managing Māori assets under multiple ownership;
  5. be a tourism business, which is defined as a business where at least 50% of its operational output is purchased by tourists (domestic or international), for example: Accommodation, Arts and Recreational Services, Food Services, Transport Services or Retail Trade. This can include service businesses whose output is purchased by tourism businesses;
  6. be physically based within at least 1 of the 5 districts: Queenstown Lakes District, Southland District, Kaikōura District, Mackenzie District, or Westland District (1 grant per business operation);
  7. have engaged in hibernation-like activities, for example: reduced opening hours, level of services, customers or business capacity due to COVID-19. Compared to either the 2018/19 or 2019/20 financial year, a business must have experienced a drop in annual revenue (post-COVID) of at least 50%;
  8. have a minimum annual revenue of $60,000 pre-COVID-19 (either the 2018/19 or 2019/20 financial year);
  9. not have received direct Government tourism support from the Strategic Tourism Assets Protection Programme; and
  10. pass a viability test demonstrating that the business will remain viable and operating up to and beyond the border re-opening. This can be discussed with one of your Lead Entity’s Growth Advisors.

Charitable Trusts, Incorporated Societies, Non-business entities, Local and Central Governments are ineligible.

What can the grant be spent on?

The Tourism Kick-start Fund can be used for some or all of the following operational activities:

  • Recruitment and wages for staff
  • Training
  • Operating expenditure (e.g. restocking, certification, WOF, accounting software)
  • Fixed overheads (e.g. office leases)
  • Marketing
  • Repairs and maintenance directly related to scaling up business operations.

The Tourism Kick-start Fund cannot be used for:

  • capital expenditure (e.g. purchasing computer hardware, vehicles, boats, planes)
  • any other situation where an actual, perceived or potential conflict of interest may exist, without prior written approval from the Lead Entity
  • paying off debt your business has incurred.

It is intended that payments are made to eligible businesses as soon as possible once applications and supporting documents have been received, assessed and processed. Exact processing and payment times will vary between Lead Entities and will depend on demand for the Fund. Expected timeframes will be managed and communicated by Lead Entities.

How to apply

Businesses can register their interest in any of the 3 initiatives by contacting the Lead Entity responsible for the district they are physically based in via the links below. Lead Entities are also the point of contact for any questions businesses may have:

Last updated: 06 July 2022