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Economic development agency Whanganui & Partners says that businesses feeling the effects of COVID-19 should take advantage of the business support available.

Tim Easton from Whanganui & Partners says that the local economy is performing strongly overall, but plenty of Whanganui businesses are still feeling the impact of COVID-19.

“We’ve seen lots of examples of businesses that have had to adjust quickly to changing circumstances. Hospitality businesses have had to plan around revenue lost from lockdown restrictions, manufacturers have had their supply chains disrupted, and retailers have had to get set up to sell online. Even though we’re seeing a lot of activity in the economy, it’s not business as usual.”

Easton says there is targetted support available to help businesses adapt through the Regional Business Partner Network (RBP), which is delivered locally by Whanganui & Partners.

“The RBP provides funding for businesses and sole traders to use on specific areas of support. Since July, we’ve distributed over $150,000 in funding to Whanganui businesses. The majority of our businesses are using it to access expert advice on cashflow, marketing or digital enablement.”

Local artist Fleur Wickes has accessed the RBP funding, which enabled her to work with Toss Grumley, a business advisor at Wolf & Fox. Wickes says the support gave her access to the expertise she needed to plan for the future.

“Toss has a thorough knowledge of the arts sector, and views it from a much wider perspective than I am able to. He is extremely good at working with me as an artist, and understanding the tightrope between the personal nature of the work, and the necessary business skills required in order to be able to make a good living in the arts,” Wickes said.

“He also helped me create a brilliant working document for a business plan that I can follow and understand, and which also works to show a bank or accountant needing to see a clear picture of my business.”

Easton says that the access to professional advisory services was established with funding from Central Government to help businesses respond to impact of COVID 19 and was so well received that a second round of funding was launched in July.

“We’ve had great feedback from the businesses that have gone through the programme, and want to see more accessing the support. This round will be open until the funding runs out, so I recommend anyone considering it to register your business today.”

Businesses should visit for more information and to register.