27 September 2021

Southland businesses support Fiordland

What started as one business asking how it could help, has grown into a five-day, 18-session summit to support Fiordland businesses.

The Fiordland Business Support Summit kicked off in Te Anau on Sunday, and runs until Thursday, with free seminars covering everything from business planning and working with banks, to navigating immigration settings and Covid-19 vaccinations, and even mental wellbeing.

Southland Chamber of Commerce projects and engagement manager Joanne O’Connor said: “It’s questions we know business will have questions about because of the uncertainty at the moment.”

The summit was born after a call from Invercargill-based business consultancy and chartered accountancy firm Malloch McClean offering to host talks in the tourist destination; which has been hard hit by the closure of New Zealand’s borders.

O’Connor said “it just grew from there,” and no-one the Chamber had asked to speak at the summit said no, so her team decided to offer sessions over multiple days, at varying times, to allow as many business owners as possible to benefit from the advice.

“We just want to help. And our members want to help,” she said, encouraging business to connect with the Chamber for any advice they may require in the future.

Fiordland Business Association chairman Nathan Benfell said the association fully supported the summit and appreciated the efforts of extended whānau who had reached out to help their neighbours.

“I encourage everyone to take advantage of this while it’s in town,” he said.

As the owner of bed and breakfast himself, Benfell was most looking forward to networking.

“That connection is powerful,” he said, adding that many of the business leaders who would be speaking already did business with Fiordland.

“We really need people to support it and show their appreciation,” he said. “If any one person can get one thing to take away that helps them or their business, it would be a success.”

Published by Stuff.co.nz – 26 September 2021