Calls for more support for start-ups

By Jonathan Chilton-Towle

South Dunedin man Will MacDonald believes more support is needed for people starting small businesses. Photo by Jonathan Chilton-Towle.
South Dunedin man Will MacDonald believes more support is needed for people starting small businesses. Photo by Jonathan Chilton-Towle.

A South Dunedin man is calling for more support for people trying to start their own businesses.

Odd Jobs Galore founder Will MacDonald, 26, started his gardening and odd jobs company about eight months ago in order to get off a benefit.

At first, things were good and he was able to find quite a bit of work but lately things have dropped off and he is struggling to support himself, he said.

He had to pick up a second job on the fishing boats to make ends meet.

Mr MacDonald had used Facebook, letter box drops and fliers posted in local supermarkets to advertise the company. He was also looking into advertising on radio.

However, the biggest problem was that the elderly people who usually purchased his services were struggling to make ends meet themselves and could not afford it even though his prices were very cheap, he said.

He believed there had to be more support from the Government for people wanting to start businesses and said even small regular top-ups to meet cost overheads would be a great help.

Mr MacDonald had run a similar business in Christchurch but had to shut it down after the house containing his gear was red-zoned following the earthquake.

Supporting people who were starting businesses would be good for the Government as it got those people off the benefit, he said.

Otago Chamber of Commerce chief executive John Christie said the best advice would be to seek really good professional advice.

A wide variety of organisations were available in Dunedin to help start businesses.

The Chamber of Commerce offered advice, as did IRD small business advisers and the Economic Development Unit. There were many professional services firms that could help. Many of these would provide a few hours of advice free.

Many business owners had empathy for those just starting out and would provide free advice and even resources.

Starting a business did not necessarily require a huge amount of capital, depending on what type of business it was. However, when starting a business it was a good idea to have some means of supporting yourself for a time, Mr Christie said.

A Work and Income spokesperson referred The Star to the Flexi-wage section on its website. According to the site, Flexi-wage was an allowance available to people getting government assistance to help get a business off the ground.

It was not a loan and was over and above any income earned by the business.

According to the Dunedin City Council website, the DCC Economic Development Unit was able to help start-up businesses by providing business advice and introductions to people and organisations that may be able to assist, through to helping new owners negotiate rules and regulations.

Other business support programmes in Dunedin included the Audacious programme, the Upstart Business Incubator, and the Distiller.

-The Otago Daily Times

- Otago Daily Times

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