The 3 business initiatives

The Business Advisory Support, Advice Implementation Grant, and Tourism Kick-start Fund initiatives (the 3 business initiatives) of the Tourism Communities: Support, Recovery and Re-set Plan are progressing at pace.

Applications for the Business Advisory Support and Advice Implementation Grant are now open. Further information about the Tourism Kick-start Fund will be provided once we are closer to reconnecting borders.

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 District, Southland District, Kaikōura District, Mackenzie District, and Westland District.

The three 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 the 2019/20 financial year. 

Tourism businesses can access funding through all 3 business initiatives (as they open), as these initiatives are related, but not dependent, on each other.

Each initiative provides 1 grant per business operation, and the business operation must be physically based within at least 1 of the 5 districts. 

An inbound tour operator that is based outside of the district, but operates within at least 1 of the districts, may only be eligible for the Business Advisory Support and/or Advice Implementation Grant if it can provide evidence that the majority of its client activity takes place within the eligible districts.

How were the 5 districts chosen?

The Government used the following 3 criteria to assess the regions 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% in the year to January 2021.

The first 2 criteria help 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 within these communities.

Organisations delivering the three business initiatives

The Business Advisory Support initiative will be 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 will be delivered by Lead Entities. Lead Entities have local knowledge and expertise, and have been agreed with the 5 districts.

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 three 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. 

The advice will fall into 3 broad categories:

  • Continue – Advice to help the business to continue on with its operations, be it a confirmation or adjustment to current business practice to operate, until the return of international visitors at commercially significant levels.
  • Hibernate – Advice to help the business to scale down or close parts of their business, and what future conditions might precipitate an increase in business operations.
  • Cease – Advice to help businesses to cease trading and/or advice on how to cease trade in a way that will minimise costs.

The Business Advisory Support initiative will be open for an initial 1 year period from 31 August 2021 to 31 August 2022.  A review to extend the time period is expected to occur based on funding availability.

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:
  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).

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.

The Business Advice Implementation Grant will be open for an initial 1 year period from 31 August 2021 to 31 August 2022.  A review to extend the time period is expected to occur based on funding availability.

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:
  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                                       

The Government recently outlined a framework for re-opening borders, and the key to this is our elimination strategy. We are preparing for a phased resumption of quarantine-free travel by vaccinating as many people as possible and safely conducting a self-isolation trial for vaccinated New Zealanders.

Once enough people are vaccinated, we expect to see the phased return of travellers to our shores in 2022 on an individual risk-based approach to border settings. In the meantime, the Government is providing support to tourism businesses where it’s most needed.

Alongside the Business Advisory Support initiative and 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 districts prepare for the return of international visitors. We expect to have more details about this fund once we are closer to reconnecting borders. Further information about the Tourism Kick-start Fund will become available on this webpage.

Go live dates

Lead Entities have indicated they will be ready to accept applications for the Business Advisory Support initiative and Advice Implementation Grant from the following dates:

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

Applications for the Tourism Kick-start Fund will open at a later date.

How to apply

You can register your interest in any of the three initiatives by contacting the Lead Entity responsible for the district your business is physically based in via the links below. Lead Entities are also your point of contact for any questions you may have. You can find their contact details on their websites:

Christchurch NZ (for Kaikōura and Mackenzie Districts):

Tourism Communities Initiatives(external link) — ChristchurchNZ

Great South (for Southland District):

Tourism Support(external link) — Great South

Queenstown Lakes District Council (for Queenstown Lakes District):

Queenstown Lakes: Support, Recovery & Re-Set Plan(external link) — The Otago Chamber of Commerce

Development West Coast (for Westland District):

Tourism Recovery and Re-set Kickstart Plan(external link) — West Coast New Zealand

Last updated: 05 October 2021