Business Link Pacific (BLP) is supporting the private sector in the Pacific Islands to address the current COVID-19 challenges and prepare for the future. Through its partners, BLP is offering up to 100% subsidy on business advice to mitigate the negative impact of COVID-19 on Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). BLP is a New Zealand government programme supporting private sector development in the Pacific Islands.
The COVID-19 Subsidy covers up to 100% of services through BLP approved advisors focusing on services that support business continuity, contingency planning, access to available financial packages, refinancing and renegotiating loans and new working setups, such as IT systems, access to communications platforms and cloud-based software. The subsidy package will cover services for up to NZD 5,000 per SME, and further support will be considered on a case-by-case approach.
Business advice is more important than ever. BLP advisors can provide information about available support packages from national and international governments, identify weaknesses and strengths in businesses, establish new roadmaps, help with innovation, and if necessary, reinvent products and services. BLP approved advisors have access to online, quick and easy to use tools to identify business gaps, such as the Business Continuity Planner.
The COVID-19 Subsidy focuses on the following areas:
- HR impacts on operations: immediate term health and safety emergency planning; workplace safety; work-from-home strategies; sick-leave and business continuity and remote communications; flexible arrangements, austerity measures, temporary staffing.
- Business contingency and business continuity planning: mitigation of business interruptions and suspension; off-site relocations’ risk management strategies, insurance, data security and alternative business income and diversification.
- Financial planning: cash-flow management; renegotiating finance and loans; long-term financial impact planning; taxation, applying for national governments’ or international relief programmes and funding.
- Communications and marketing: crisis communications, business interruptions and customer engagement.
- Business Coaching: Online free consultations on continuity planning, adaptation and mitigation in the face of COVID-19.
To access the subsidy, affected business with between 5 to 50 employees should take the following steps:
- Visit our website to first identify the most pressing threats to the business by using the new Business Continuity Planner. Businesses should take the time to identify all the areas that were or will be impacted by COVID-19 (if you haven’t already done so), from a people, materials and financial perspective. This new online tool will speed up the process of gap-analysis for the business.
- Contact a business advisor. You can find an advisor on our website, or a list of providers will be generated after the submission of the Business Continuity Planner self-assessment.
- Ask the BLP approved advisor of your choice to take your business through the subsidy process available in Fiji, Samoa, PNG, Vanuatu, Cook Islands and the Solomon Islands.
In addition to subsidies, we are continuously providing updates and business best practices in the face of COVID-19. To get the latest information businesses can follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter and can also visit our News and Updates section on our website.
Outside BLP services, businesses should prepare to isolate and protect teams for a period. They may need to use a range of strategies, including online meetings or organize shift work in which smaller groups of workers do the same jobs in a relay.
Finally, businesses should identify and take advantage of the financial opportunities provided by banks and local governments, as well as refinancing or renegotiating loans.
For more information contact your local BLP representative:
Papua New Guinea: email@example.com
Cook Islands: firstname.lastname@example.org
Solomon Islands: email@example.com
About Business Link Pacific:
Created and funded by the Government of New Zealand, Business Link Pacific has a network of over 60 quality approved business advisory service providers; professional firms available to assist businesses in Samoa, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Cook Islands and the Solomon Islands.
Through every qualified and approved provider in the BLP network, small and medium-sized enterprises can access a range of subsidies to cover fully or partially the cost of business advice in areas such as accounting, marketing, human resources and strategy, amongst others.