Small businesses across the region have so far received nearly $145,000 in government funding for expert advice to help them deal with the impact of Covid-19.
Last week the Government announced a further $40 million allocation to the Regional Business Partners (RBP) programme to support New Zealand's business community through the challenges brought on by Covid-19.
The funding is available to connect small and medium businesses with specialist providers in key areas to help with the impact of Covid-19 on their business and ensures they can quickly access support at a local level.
The RBP programme is administered by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) and is delivered locally by economic development agency Whanganui & Partners.
Tim Easton, business growth adviser at Whanganui & Partners, said the agency has distributed $106,587 across 59 businesses in Whanganui, with another $7090 going to businesses in Rangitīkei and $30,760 to Ruapehu businesses.
"The bulk of support has gone to businesses with between one and 10 full-time employees," Easton said.
"The support has been spread across a range of industries."
RBP funding can be used to help businesses impacted by Covid-19 with human resources and employee relations; legal, financial and cashflow management; health and wellness; business continuity planning; marketing strategy; and digital enablement strategy.
"Business planning, cashflow/financial forecasting, digital enablement and marketing have been the most requested useful services to our businesses," Easton said.
Local businesses are "cautiously optimistic" post-lockdown, Easton said.
"The increase in consumer spending following lockdown has been better than forecasted, though there is still lost revenue to make up for.
"Even though New Zealand has Covid-19 under control, if our trading partners continue to struggle, we'll see knock-on effects throughout our economy. The ripple effects are complex, which makes it impossible to predict what's going to happen, and that uncertainty makes for a challenging business environment."