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What can I get help with?

Whether you’re starting out or well established, government agencies offer a range of support — from mentoring and grants to capability building — to help small businesses succeed.

Most government programmes aim to help not with cash handouts but by boosting your skills and knowledge, or supporting innovative business ventures. Grants are available, but many are co-funded — this means you’ll have to invest at least as much money as you are given.

If money is your main objective, getting an investor on board might be a better option.

If money is your main objective, getting an investor on board might be a better option.

What am I eligible for?

What you can apply for largely depends on the type of industry you’re in, and the stage your business is at.

There are initiatives to help you:

  • build your capabilities though business advice, mentoring and introducing you to new networks
  • get advice and support on exporting or moving into new markets
  • innovate and develop new products and services
  • fund research and development (R&D) activities.

To get a sense of what you’re eligible for, and what will give you the best return on investment, register with the Regional Business Partner Network. (external link) An advisor will help you explore what sorts of government assistance your business might get the most benefit from.

It’s likely what will make the most difference to your business is something you weren’t previously aware of.
In most instances, a good first step is to contact your local chamber of commerce or regional business partner to discuss what your business is eligible for. You can only apply for some grants and programmes once you’ve done this.

It’s important to weigh up the potential benefits of applying vs the effort required. Most grants and initiatives involve an application process, which take time and preparation. As well as the cost of your time, some may have fees or other costs.

When applying, you need to be able to show:

  • your business plan
  • a track record of how your business is performing financially
  • a strong business case for any money or services you’re applying for
  • market research and validation if you’re a new business.

Would you tune in to a business.govt.nz webinar on a topic you’re interested in?