New subsidy for Christchurch businesses

A new $200,000 business subsidy package is being launched in Christchurch to help those affected by Covid-19.

The ChristchurchNZ business support subsidy will offer eligible businesses up to $1000 each to seek professional advice.

The scheme - funded by ChristchurchNZ, the city's economic development agency, will support small to medium sized businesses to access advice in business continuity planning, finance and cash-flow, human resources, and health and wellbeing.

ChristchurchNZ said the subsidy is being delivered as part of a wider business support package, and goes alongside the regional business partner network subsidy, which has had a $4 million investment from the government.

The regional business partner network subsidy offers eligible businesses up to $5000 each to seek professional advice.

The regional subsidy is being done in partnership with the Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise North Canterbury and South Canterbury Chamber of Commerce.

ChristchurchNZ chief executive Joanna Norris said it was vital the organisation took immediate action to support local businesses.

''Our economic modelling work suggests the outbreak will have significant short and medium-term impact on our city's economy and people," Norris said.

''Good advice and specialist input now can make all the difference.''

Economic modelling from the agency suggests Christchurch's annual gross domestic product for 2020/21 could contract between 4 percent and 17.5 percent.

There could also be between 9000 to 36,500 job losses over the next 12 months.

As a comparison, the pre-Covid-19 unemployment in the city from December last year was 8600.

ChristchurchNZ will also be convening a Christchurch Economic Recovery Forum. The forum will be chaired by Christchurch City Council chief executive Dawn Baxendale and will meet regularly to facilitate input from the private and public sector to best inform our response.

This article was originally published on RNZ and re-published with permission.

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