Further commitment for SME support will provide for delivery of bigger and better RBP programme

Posted on December 15, 2015

The five-and-a-half year further commitment between Government and Northland Inc to provide support for small to medium enterprises (SMEs) will allow for the delivery of a bigger and better Regional Business Partner programme (RBP 2.0), says Northland Inc general manager Business, Innovation and Growth Joseph Stuart.

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce and Minister for Small Business Craig Foss have confirmed the Government’s further commitment to the programme which Mr Stuart says reflects the good work happening in Northland.

“We can now confidently look forward to delivering an improved RBP 2.0 programme, including the new feature of incorporating services provided by Business Mentors NZ (BMNZ). This strengthens the alignment with the Chamber of Commerce and provides a one stop shop for businesses to gain needed support,” Mr Stuart says.

“RBP 2.0 is the next phase of the programme and it signals our intention to lift our game on the back of positive endorsement from the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment.”

“We regard the RBP 2.0 programme and our partnerships with New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE), Callaghan Innovation, BMNZ and the Northland Chamber of Commerce as being key to providing the ideal support to help Tai Tokerau businesses grow and succeed.

“This work and partnership lets us use the RBP 2.0 as the basis for building and promoting an innovative and successful Northland business culture.”

He says it will provide a foundation for other services to be delivered by Northland Inc to further strengthen businesses across the region, and new services to support companies to form coalitions (companies coming together) to grow international markets.

“It will also make for a stronger innovation focus to increase Callaghan Innovation’s footprint in Northland with emphasis on better research connections. In addition, it will allow for the building of an entrepreneurial culture through dedicated support of Start-Ups via the development of ‘The Orchard’ collaborative workspace.

“This is in the context of the Northland Economic Action Plan (NEAP) which is due for launch next February and which identifies innovation and entrepreneurship as key enablers for future economic development.”

A total of 318 SMEs have benefited from the programme since 2011 with the target now to have at least 255 businesses a year involved in the RBP 2.0.

The RBP 2.0 programme is jointly funded by NZTE and Callaghan Innovation and will be jointly delivered with the Northland Chamber of Commerce.