Support for Northland businesses hit by power cut, State Highway 1 closures

Northland businesses grappling with the effects of long road closures and June’s region-wide power cut are being offered a helping hand.

The Taitokerau Business Resilience Project is an upskilling and support programme available to businesses across Northland.

It has reached 1000 people so far with the aim of doubling that to 2000.

Project lead Caroline Wells said it was helping Northland businesses increase resilience through workshops, one-to-one support, mentoring, networking events, tools and connections, available through the online Business Resilience Project hub.

“More than ever, our regional businesses need support to enable them to withstand, recover and, at times, see the opportunities of recent and current challenges, growing the skills and capability to help them thrive into the future,” she said.

“We’re looking to build on the core strength of our businesses, meeting them where they are now with relevant and easily accessible training and upskilling offerings.”

Challenges faced by Northland businesses in recent years included extended Covid lockdowns, extreme weather, closures of State Highway 1 at the Brynderwyn Hills and Mangamuka Gorge, and the June power outage caused by a toppled pylon.

The Taitokerau Resilience Project was set up after a survey of 270 businesses one year on from Cyclone Gabrielle found 30 percent of Northland businesses felt underprepared for future unexpected events.

Taitokerau business resilience project manager Caroline Wells.

Paul Linton, the chief executive of regional development organisation Northland Inc, said that feedback highlighted the need for ongoing resilience-building efforts in the region.

“Northland businesses have had to navigate many challenges over the past five years, from pandemics to weather events and infrastructure failures.

“Businesses were telling us that should another major unexpected event occur, they weren’t confident that they had the tools to recover.”

Upcoming training sessions included an emergency recovery workshop for businesses in need of immediate strategies, planning for restructuring and redundancies, how to do a “wellness pulse check” with employees, and exit preparation for business owners looking to move on to other opportunities.

The project is funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment as part of Cyclone Gabrielle recovery efforts.

It is a cross-agency collaboration, with Northland Inc teaming up with NorthChamber, Whariki Tai Tokerau, Kaitaia Business Boosters, Te Hiku Iwi Development Trust, and various business associations.

The funding is also supporting a regional tourism campaign throughout 2024.

The project ends in August.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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