COVID-19 Business Update – 4 November 2020
Hello again – welcome to the latest edition of our Weekly Digest. Read on for the latest updates and some ideas that will help us all move forward.
Investment in NZ Startups Remains Stable Despite Lockdowns
Investment in New Zealand startups has remained resilient despite the business disruption brought by COVID-19 restrictions, according to the latest Startup Investment report from PwC and the Angel Association. Deep tech and SaaS (software as a service) sectors attracted more than two-thirds of the total investment, with over $33.6 million invested into these sectors through to 30 June 2020.
If you need help on growing your startup business, drop us a message so we can guide you.
Unemployment Rate Jumps at 5.3%
Latest data from Stats NZ shows the unemployment rate had a record increase to 5.3% in the September quarter, as more Kiwis started to look for work. There were 37,000 more unemployed in the quarter, a 32.5% increase from the June quarter.
Managed Isolation Voucher System FAQs
Travellers to NZ must now have a managed isolation voucher to be allowed to board their flight to the country.
The system which went live on October 5 and applies to all arriving flights from November 3 was booking up fast for Christmas. Here are the FAQs that can help you navigate the voucher system:
Q: Who needs it?
A: People travelling to New Zealand must have a pre-booked voucher for 14 days of managed isolation or quarantine facility before boarding their flight.
Q: How do I apply?
A: Through the Managed Isolation Allocation System – an online portal.
Q: How does it work?
A: Once you have completed your registration on the system, you will be issued a voucher that confirms your allocation to a place in managed isolation. Present your voucher at the airport to be able to board your flight. You can book your voucher two months in advance.
Q: How many vouchers can I apply for?
A: You can apply for one as a single traveller or register as a family for a couple or family with fewer than 13 members.
Q: How much does it cost?
A: There is no fee for getting a voucher. However, some may be charged for their stay in managed isolation or quarantine.
Q: Can I choose where I will isolate?
A: No. You will not be able to choose the city or facility where you isolate. Those on the same flight are typically assigned to the same managed isolation facility, except those who have a higher risk of COVID-19 who will be quarantined.
For more information, you may check this website.
New $40 Million COVID-19 Fund Opens
Te Tari Taiwhenua Department of Internal Affairs has announced that a new lottery fund worth $40 million has opened. The fund will provide one-off grants for community and social initiatives that will ensure that iwi, hapū and communities across New Zealand are safe and resilient following COVID-19.
This new fund is part of $178 million that has been allocated by the Lottery Grants Board this year to support community and social initiatives, marae, community facilities, heritage, environment activities, outdoor safety, health research and individuals with disabilities.
More details about applying for funding can be found on the Community Matters website. If you need help in assessing your eligibility or considering other funding options available to you, feel free to contact us.
How to Take Your Retail Business Online
With the COVID-19 restrictions and the tough economic times we are experiencing, now is the right time to add a new revenue stream and get your retail business online. You can either launch your own website or use an existing ecommerce platform.
Have your own ecommerce website
If you already have your own website or you are planning to launch one, you can add in an online shop to that. There are several ecommerce platforms that can integrate with your website or act as a standalone website. These include:
Sell on an existing ecommerce platform
If you don’t want to manage your own website, you can list your products on an established ecommerce website instead. Look through the available options and identify which ones suit your needs. Some of the best options include:
Whatever route you decide to take, take the time to write detailed product descriptions, take high quality photos of your products, and make use of available features on the platform to increase your chances of making a sale.
Financial Help For Small Māori-owned Businesses Extended
The $10 million Māori Trustee Top-Up Small Business Cashflow Loan Scheme, which has paid almost $1 million to Māori-owned small and medium-sized enterprises, has been extended until 31 December 2020.
Māori SMEs can apply if they have already received Inland Revenue’s Government Small Business Cashflow Loan. If they can prove Māori ownership and meet other criteria, they can apply for a further 50% of that loan amount from the Māori Trustee.
No repayments were required for the first two years, but the loan had to be repaid in full within five years.
If you need assistance with your application or would like to take advantage of other financial help you are eligible for, contact us today so we can guide you in considering your options.
Consumer Travel Reimbursement Scheme Opens to Travel Agencies and Wholesalers
Travel agents and wholesalers can apply for the Consumer Travel Reimbursement Scheme which was put in place to help Kiwis get back the money they are owed from cancelled international travel plans due to COVID-19.
The travel sector and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) estimate around $690 million of New Zealanders’ money is locked up from cancelled travels, with around 85% related to overseas travel. Through this scheme, travel agents will be incentivised to recoup these funds for consumers.
Approximately $47.2 million will be allocated for this scheme, which involves paying NZ-based travel agents 7.5% of the value of all cash refunds they manage to recover for their customers and 5% of the value of all credits secured or rebooked for international travel.
Remind Your Customers to Use NZ COVID Tracer App
As a new COVID-19 case involving a marine engineer from Auckland who was believed to be infected through his work on a ship emerged in the community, businesses are urged to remind customers to use the NZ COVID Tracer App.
While this is not a silver bullet, the app is one of the tools that we can use for faster contact tracing and to prevent another wave of the virus.
As a business owner, you should take it as your responsibility to prompt your customers and remind them to scan the QR code displayed in your business premises.
Free Expert Business Advice for Auckland Businesses
Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) has supported thousands of businesses affected by COVID-19 this year by giving them access to fully funded expert advice amounting to $10 million.
If you haven’t connected with them, now is the best time to get consultancy services in the following key areas:
- HR, employee relations and legal – including restructures, employment contracts, legal obligations and HR processes, and ownership structures
- Financial and cashflow management – including cashflow forecasting, business scenario forecasting, capital raising and debt restructuring
- Health and wellness – including health and safety plans, employee wellbeing plans and stress management coaching
- Business continuity planning – including crisis management, pivot strategies and business continuity plans or business resilience plans
- Marketing strategy – including plans for marketing, product launches, digital marketing and reaching new customers
- Digital enablement strategy – including social media strategy, ecommerce strategy, website optimisation, and digital customer journey mapping
- Business hibernation (for tourism businesses only) – including business debt hibernation processes and scenario planning
Those who haven’t previously accessed support from the Regional Business Partner have to register on the RBP website first. You would need your GST number and NZBN number to do this. Meanwhile, Auckland businesses already registered can email the ATEED Business Helpdesk for their application, even if initial support from the COVID-19 Business Advisory Fund has been accessed.
If you would like to chat about your business, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We can help you develop a plan for your specific situation.
Get in touch
Contact us if you have any questions or want to discuss the next steps for your business.