Lockdown support much used

Support for businesses was in high demand during the Alert Level 4 lockdown, figures from the Otago Chamber of Commerce show.

The figures came out at a chamber event held two weeks ago, known as "Business after 5," which drew 150 people.

During the lockdown period nearly 1200 businesses contacted the chamber for support and more than $900,000 in support vouchers was given to more than 637 businesses by the regional business partners’ programme.

That programme is funded by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and operated by the Otago Chamber of Commerce.

A further 11 companies accessed $240,000 in Callaghan Innovation student grants, which would give 19 students experience at those businesses.

Another 14 companies accessed $700,000 from Callaghan Innovation to support research and development, making a year end total of more than $1.7million.

The Otago chamber also got 30 new business mentors, the second highest increase in the country after Auckland.

Chamber chief executive Dougal McGowan said the "Business after 5" event sold out within eight hours and quickly had a waiting list of 30 people.

He said it was a great opportunity for businesses and individuals to reconnect after the lockdown.

"It was great to get feedback from the many people at the event [and] how they felt supported even though they were experiencing unprecedented times.

"It shows that though the business world is different there are still aspects that remain vital.

"Being connected and trusted allowed the chamber to support all business and that the value of networking is still vital for the current and future success of your business."

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