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The Enterprise North Canterbury (ENC) Professional Services Grant has proved a boost to local businesses, with 58 businesses receiving over $23,000 worth of professional cashflow forecasting advice during the eight-week grant period.
The grant, made available by the Waimakariri, Hurunui and Kaikōura District Councils, was announced by ENC on April 16th in response to the restrictions imposed on businesses during the Covid-19 Alert Level 4 lockdown. Open to all small-to-medium sized businesses (SMEs) in North Canterbury and Kaikoura that were negatively affected by Covid-19, the grant provided $400 worth of professional cashflow forecasting services. Five local accountancy firms also came on board as professional service partners offering an additional $400 worth of services for any business that chose to spend the grant with them.
ENC Chief Executive Heather Warwick says the grant was a huge help to many small businesses as it allowed them to get an up-to-date cashflow forecast and accompanying advice during a very uncertain time.
“Working with businesses of all sizes every day, we know that cashflow is the lifeblood of every business. Thanks to the generosity of our three District Councils, ENC was able to provide this service to local businesses, arming them with good advice and professional input at no cost as they set out on uncharted territory following the Covid-19 lockdown. For many, the forecast was a key tool in their subsequent application for government funding to further support them, their staff and their business going forward,” said Heather.
Ollie Law, Director of Bushman Tours was one of the 58 successful grant applicants. He said the grant gave him an opportunity to comprehend his business accounts and better align his business strategy on the back of Covid-19.
“As a result of our time with Patron Chartered Accountants and Business Advisors (one of the five professional services partners), we were able to better understand our accounts and identify areas for improvement that we'd missed previously,” explains Ollie.
“Patron were able to understand our business model, ask good questions and then align this to our objectives. The result being a more tidy, easily digestible set of accounts we can now measure each of our products against.”
Ollie added that the advice he and his team received has helped to simplify their processes and eased their workload during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Nerissa Moore of North Canterbury Tax & Bookkeeping – another of the professional services partners – said the process was rewarding.
“Working with ENC as professional service providers of cashflow forecasting, we were able to give meaningful advice to business owners through this enjoyable collaboration, helping them mitigate the negative impacts of Covid-19 whilst providing up to date insights on the current business climate,” she said.
In addition to the Professional Services Grant, ENC has provided over $207,000 of funding for professional services to 213 local businesses through the Regional Business Partner (RBP) network; a service that ENC can now resume thanks to the recent Government announcement of a further $40 million of funding to be distributed through the RBP network.