Podcast: Two Cents' Worth

Covid-19: Business leaders step up

Two Cents' Worth hosts Bernard Hickey, Nikki Mandow and Gyles Beckford reflect on the most turbulent week in New Zealand’s economic history. They look at two new tools for business and online working advice that were built over a weekend to help deal with the Covid-19 crisis. They also talk about how it has affected their lives and way of working.

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Nikki spoke first to Andy Hamilton, who was the founder of business incubator The Icehouse and is now running an innovation agency called Indigo. He and a team created Manaaki.io, a website that connects small to medium businesses with experts able to help them deal with the disruption from the Covid-19 lockdown.

Another such online working bee created Voluntarily.nz within a few days and three years earlier than expected. This was set up by Vend founder Vaughan Fergusson and his partner and Voluntarily co-founder Zoe Timbrell. They set up the site to link business and professional volunteers. Quite a lot of them are tech people, but they also want accountants, HR people, marketers, lawyers, psychologists.

They created the site in days through a big virtual hangout they called a “self isolation build party.” They got together more than 100 people from various companies across seven time zones. And they built a site that links experts with companies and also schools and NGOs that need help with how to run their organisations remotely.

Then there’s soscafe.nz, which was created by David Downs, who works for the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.

David Downs Photo: Supplied

Downs got worried about everyone’s favourite cafes going out of business during the lockdown, so he set up a website where you can order and pay for your daily coffee - and muffin and sandwich or whatever - today - and get it delivered later. 

Some of the big philanthropic business leaders have taken a strong lead, including a group of them trying to see if we can’t make medical ventilators, and how can we ramp up production of protective gear - masks, gowns gloves. They include Sam Morgan and Stephen Tindall, who are working with a Christchurch company to make ventilators.

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