South Dunedin man Will MacDonald believes more support is
needed for people starting small businesses. Photo by
A South Dunedin man is calling for more support for
people trying to start their own businesses.
Odd Jobs Galore founder Will MacDonald (26) started his
gardening and odd jobs company about eight months ago in
order to get off a benefit.
At first, things were good and he was able to find quite a
bit of work but lately things have dropped off and he is
struggling to support himself, he said.
He had to pick up a second job on the fishing boats to make
Mr MacDonald had used Facebook, letter box drops and fliers
posted in local supermarkets to advertise the company. He was
also looking into advertising on radio.
However, the biggest problem was that the elderly people who
usually purchased his services were struggling to make ends
meet themselves and could not afford it even though his
prices were very cheap, he said.
He believed there had to be more support from the Government
for people wanting to start businesses and said even small
regular top-ups to meet cost overheads would be a great help.
Mr MacDonald had run a similar business in Christchurch but
had to shut it down after the house containing his gear was
red-zoned following the earthquake.
Supporting people who were starting businesses would be good
for the Government as it got those people off the benefit, he
Otago Chamber of Commerce chief executive John Christie said
the best advice would be to seek really good professional
A wide variety of organisations were available in Dunedin to
help start businesses.
The Chamber of Commerce offered advice, as did IRD small
business advisers and the Economic Development Unit. There
were many professional services firms that could help. Many
of these would provide a few hours of advice free.
Many business owners had empathy for those just starting out
and would provide free advice and even resources.
Starting a business did not necessarily require a huge amount
of capital, depending on what type of business it was.
However, when starting a business it was a good idea to have
some means of supporting yourself for a time, Mr Christie
A Work and Income spokesperson referred The Star to the
Flexi-wage section on its website. According to the site,
Flexi-wage was an allowance available to people getting
government assistance to help get a business off the ground.
It was not a loan and was over and above any income earned by
According to the Dunedin City Council website, the DCC
Economic Development Unit was able to help start-up
businesses by providing business advice and introductions to
people and organisations that may be able to assist, through
to helping new owners negotiate rules and regulations.
Other business support programmes in Dunedin included the
Audacious programme, the Upstart Business Incubator, and the