As small businesses faced up the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the country rallied around. Government offered subsidies, loans and support lines. Communities, industry bodies and regional leaders pitched in, many buying local to support local businesses.
Supporting small businesses
The disruption to business has been unprecedented. Ditto the financial support to help. Much of that support is still available, including the government’s cash flow loan scheme, which remains open until December 2023. So far 100,000 businesses have successfully applied for a total of more than $1.5bn.
Even with this support, 2020 has been a challenging year for small businesses. Running a small business can be stressful at the best of times, with long hours and the pressure of feeling responsible for the business, employees and family. Small business owners also tend to feel isolated.
In 2020, the mental wellbeing of small business owners and operators became a key focus for government, regional agencies and private organisations like Xero.
So business.govt.nz, along with nine partners from across government and the private sector, undertook new research into how we can better support the mental health of small business owners and operators. We’ll start releasing new resources based on this research in early 2021. In the meantime, check out our existing wellbeing tips for small businesses:
New opportunities and resources
Lockdown, start up
The disruption to normal life here and around the world also created new opportunities. It’s shown us new ways of working and doing business, and proved a catalyst for more Kiwis to take the plunge and go out on their own.
From July to December, new company registrations jumped by almost 25% compared with 2019. Our resources for new businesses were used 750,000 times throughout the year. On average in 2020, business.govt.nz resources were used 100,000 times each week. This has more than doubled in the year to date.
The social restrictions caused by Covid-19 created a need for more small businesses to explore digital opportunities, boosting or creating online presences and offerings.
To help this transition, together with a range of partners, in June we released new resources to help you do business online. To date, these resources have been used 25,000 times.
We’ve also created videos showing how Kiwi businesses have embraced the digital world in the new Digital Boost Spotlight Series videos.