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Best business resources


These last few months have been tough for everyone. But it’s arguably our local small to medium enterprises that have felt the strain of quarantine the most. Thankfully, there are some resources available for support and we’ve collated a list of places you can go for help, advice or support.

 

CANTERBURY EMPLOYERS’ CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: Collates all of the official information on COVID-19 as it relates to business operation and puts it all in one place. Their team of experts also offer great business advice during these unusual times.

OTHER BUSINESSES: Sometimes the best people to turn to are the those that are in the same boat as you. Reach out to other companies in your trade and see how they’re coping and what you can all do to support one another.

SOS CAFÉ: This not-for-profit initiative was set up to support local businesses, specifically cafés, restaurants, bars and eateries, through the purchasing of vouchers. These can be redeemed later, when it’s safe to do so.

MINISTRY OF AWESOME: This is the starting point for entrepreneurs, startups, and innovators in Christchurch, which means they’ve got the support, guidance, capability training and networks entrepreneurs need to succeed.

COVID COLAB 20: A public Facebook page that was set up to support the community and the business industry, it is all about collaboration and bouncing off each other creatively.

CHRISTCHURCH SMALL BUSINESS ENTERPRISE CENTRE (CSBEC): CSBEC offers a range of services to start-up and existing micro and small business owners. These include business facilitation and consultancy, marketing advice and reports, management planning and budgeting, finance advice and training courses.


 

COVID’s impact on business


More than 63 percent of respondents to a recent survey of Canterbury businesses are reporting significant financial impacts from COVID-19. More than 21 percent are citing moderate impact, with more than 7 percent citing minor impact.

 

The data was gathered as part of a survey distributed to local businesses last month, during Alert Level 3, by The Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce and ChristchurchNZ.

Looking forward three months, 60 percent of businesses still felt that the cashflow impact will be profound.

Staff numbers too will be affected, with around 30 percent of businesses believing their staffing numbers would have a significant negative impact of more than 25 percent.

Exporters remain more optimistic, with 46 percent responding that there will be no effect on their sales, while 30 percent think the negative effect will be more than 25 percent.

The survey shows that smaller businesses have been more impacted by loss of customers and increased costs, while larger ones have been impacted by supply chain.

Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Leeann Watson says the results of this survey demonstrate the changing impact during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“All business segments have been affected by cashflow issues.

We have engaged with over 2000 businesses over the last two months through our COVID-19 helpline and over email and 6,000 businesses in on our webinars, and the survey results reinforce what we are seeing – namely the very real need for continued targeted financial support and the need for HR as we continue to see increased needs around support with restructuring, redundancy and resizing for businesses.”


 

The Influencers: John Bridgman


 

Ōtākaro Limited Chief Executive

 

Construction is back up and running at Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre after a shutdown during the COVID-19 restriction period.

Work kicked off again at Level 3 with a smaller team and strict social distancing requirements, and as we return to the city it is brilliant to see how quickly the building façade is progressing along Oxford Terrace.

The pandemic is affecting the business events industry worldwide and we are not immune to that.

The centre’s Business Development team has been working closely with affected clients to reschedule their events to a later date, which has kept most of these events in Christchurch.

General Manager Ross Steele has advised they now have 67 events confirmed for Te Pae Christchurch, which is a 30% increase on the number of bookings at the end of 2019.

These are projected to bring over $40 million of economic benefit to the city.

Understandably, given the current climate, eight upcoming events have been cancelled due to uncertainty around travel and the delayed completion of the building.

When the venue opens, personal safety is likely to still be at the front of people’s minds.

The hygiene and safety standards being used will be consistent with other venues around the world managed by our venue operator, ASM Global.

In business as usual, an exceptional local winery, Sherwood Estate Wines, has secured the first major supply contract.

Supporting the city’s economic and social recovery is one of Te Pae Christchurch’s key objectives and they tell me they expect to sign up more local suppliers shortly.


 

The Influencers: Scott Thelning


 

Principal Cathedral Grammar

Foresight and fortitude – sowing the seeds of hard work and reaping the fruits of success.

COVID-19 has created, once again, challenging times for our city, and this brings with it a mix of emotions.

For me, I am grateful for the foresight held by a team of governors whom some years ago set the pathway forward for our school to evolve, adapt and embrace a way of thinking that would prepare our students and staff for an ever changing world.

Through this transition period as a school, there were, as there inevitably will be, challengers and challenges to this way of thinking.

I am thankful for the fortitude of our staff for staying to the course and ensuring what is best for students, their learning, and their future was at the heart of the matter.

When the lockdown was announced, our team was ready and delivered superbly in a time of need.

The vision and strategy developed, coupled with a great team of skilled, open minded and solution focussed teachers, enabled our school to respond quickly and create and deliver a high quality and structured remote learning programme for our community.

It is through these difficult times, that as organisations our business models and cultures are truly tested.

All aspects are placed under the spotlight as we grapple with the financial and employment implications, together with the wellbeing of our people and the ability to adapt and innovate.

Success comes in many forms. For us, foresight, fortitude and agility have been key.


 

A home with soul: Pringle Homes


Pringle Homes’ newest show home in Milns Park had only recently opened in early March before the Covid 19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown meant it had to remain closed for viewing until Level 2.

Having to spend so much time at home over the last couple of months has taught all of us how important a comfortable, warm and functional home really is.

This warm and inviting three-bedroom, two-bathroom house has real soul, and gorgeous use of colour and texture gives character as well as thoroughly modern living.

Several different forms of heating are showcased to demonstrate the options that are out there in Canterbury – ducted air conditioning, radiators, underfloor heating and an ULEB-approved wood fire are all displayed.

The kitchen is stylish and functional with large Velux skylights letting in the sun and light, and creating airflow in the summer.

A large walk in linen cupboard is just one of the excellent storage solutions you will find in this efficient floorplan.

Working from home?

There is a lovely study area, just close enough to the coffee machine!

The guys at Pringle Homes have thought of everything, with a double drive-through garage, and an Econx system allowing you remote access to your homes heating, lighting and security.

Pop in and see the team at Pringle Homes from Wednesday to Sunday, 12-4pm, or if you prefer give them a call for a private tour.

You will find this beauty in the new Milns Park subdivision, at 14 Whitburn Avenue, Halswell.


 

The new ‘abnormal’: Belle Cafe


COVID-19 has been a massive hit to the café industry. We caught up with owner of Belle Café, Bink Bowler, on his thoughts around this new (not so) normal.

 

PHOTOS TAKEN BEFORE COVID-19

 

Bink has owned cafés for 10 years, founding Black & White Coffee Cartel before selling last year and starting his first solo project – Belle.

He preaches that, “Being social is in our DNA, cafés have been around for over 350 years, we won’t change our human instinct over this”.

He expresses frustration that, “There’s been ignorant talk in the media about the ‘new normal’ in hospitality of ‘click and collect’ when in fact, that is abnormal.

Takeaway delivery has been around for decades; it serves a different purpose to what we do, that being hosting people.

Click and collect has basically phased out at the start of level 2, as expected!

“It’s devastating for business,” he continues. “But we look at the pre-COVID economy with rose-tinted glasses. We need to remember it was hard before all of this happened.”

While Bink has strong thoughts on the general response to the virus, he is optimistic for the future.

“What COVID-19 has done is collapse our broken economy – we have a really unique opportunity to rebuild this differently.

“This will pass and sooner than we think. I’ll be here alongside many when it does; we just need to manage this short-term shock – it is what it is,” he concludes.


 

Captivating retreat: Tim Nees


A hidden Banks Peninsula retreat captured the judges’ eyes at the New Zealand Institute of Architects Canterbury Awards 2020.

 

EDDIE SIMON PHOTOGRAPHY

 

Architect Tim Nees has fronted New Work Studio for more than two decades and his latest project sits among 35 shortlisted for the Canterbury Awards.

The stunning design is one of 13 represented in the Housing category.

While Tim’s clients were ensconced in their 135m dream home, judges had to forgo the usual onsite visits to projects, due to Covid-19 restraints.

Instead Tim was interviewed by phone to paint parts of the picture that photos could not express.

“Nothing beats being there – seeing, smelling, touching,” Tim says.

“These aspects are the essence of a home. However, judges used photos and plans to get a sense of the experience of the home.”

Tim recognised this achievement was a collaborative effort with his clients, and Huntley Quinn Construction.

“Huntley was a good, solid communicator and great solution finder.”

The house is named Houhere, aka Lacewood, after a native tree common to the area.

Construction used little steel and concrete, and instead the sustainable build incorporated nature – macrocarpa, Douglas fir, purpleheart and larch.

Solar power, two water tanks, a generator, and gas heating was integral to the design – off-grid living is at this home’s heart and reason.


 

Melinda Collins

Editor’s Perspective: 19 March 2020


“Accept what is, let go of what was and have faith in what will be” —Sonia Ricotti

 

New Zealand could become a “lifeboat to save humanity from extinction” if there was a catastrophic pandemic, according to an Otago University report pre-dating COVID-19, just a few short months ago.

Although it was a fictional genetically-engineered pandemic threatening human survival that formed the basis of the report, the World Health Organisation has officially declared COVID-19 as a ‘pandemic’ and global panic surrounding the spread of the virus has since reached epic proportions.

Although it makes absolute sense for countries to take urgent and aggressive action on border control to contain its spread, it is equally important that we adopt a ‘business as usual’ approach when it comes to our domestic activities; our economy relies on it.

COVID-19 has spread from biological to financial and economic parts of our lives.

But it’s in our hands how this affects our domestic trade. It’s not time to stop going out for dinner, to stop heading to the movies, or to stop spending time with friends; it’s time to support our local businesses, while following the Ministry of Health’s hygiene guidelines of course.

It’s an unprecedented time in the travel industry and we’re in uncharted waters; airlines have cancelled routes, cruise companies have postponed trips and countries have closed their borders.

But at the time of print, New Zealand has had no community spread of COVID-19.

While it might be time to reconsider long haul travel, maybe this is the opportunity to realise just what we have in our own backyard.

Why not head into your local travel agent and get planning your Bay of Islands escape, a Queenstown vacay, or perhaps this is some extra time to plan a bigger, better overseas sojourn… for next year!

In the meantime, our younger generations are watching us and learning about how to respond to stress and uncertainty. Let’s wire our kids for resilience, not panic.