Free programme to help Rotorua businesses

Darren McGarvie. Supplied photo.

Rotorua businesses and non-profits are invited to apply for a free business training programme to help overcome the impacts of COVID-19.

Programme director Darren McGarvie says Firestation’s flagship Incubate programme has been modified to focus on how to recession proof businesses and non-profits.

Firestation is a business growth centre in the central North Island with programmes and services to help organisations learn, improve, and succeed.

"There is nothing else like this programme locally. We usually have a participant cost but, with the heavy toll COVID-19 is taking on local businesses and non-profits, this has been waived," says Darren.

"We have modified the programme to have a recession-proof focus. It has been designed for small businesses and non-profits that employ up to five staff. We want to make sure businesses survive post COVID-19 and then thrive so they can still pay wages and retain staff."

"The Incubate COVID Recovery programme also doubles the amount of one-on-one coaching recognising that businesses and non-profits are doing it tough and need additional support and help.

"We will be brutally honest with participants. There is no magic formula for surviving a recession, and unfortunately some sectors will be harder hit than others and take longer to recover.

"It will take hard work, planning and grit. The Incubate programme provides business and charity owners the skills and knowledge to help them develop a more resilient enterprise and get through.

"Whether that is looking at diversifying revenue streams, improving sales and marketing, better financial management or even developing better systems to reduce costs. Key business areas such as mindset, finance, sales, marketing, employment, and talent management are covered."

"What makes our programmes work is that they are execution focussed. What action will each participant take to implement what they have learned to make their business stronger."

"The other benefit is the realisation that you’re not in this alone. We do this programme in groups so participants can support and learn from other business owners."

Over the last five years around 250 organisations have completed Firestation programmes across Rotorua, Kawerau, South Waikato and Taupo. The programmes are subsidised by councils, economic development agencies and trusts to help support economic growth and create local jobs.

The programmes include group-based training and review sessions where participants share challenges and successes and one-on-one business coaching sessions.

Pam Neilson from Copperhead Road Distillery recently completed the Incubate programme and says she highly recommends it and urges business owners impacted by COVID-19 to apply.

"The programme helped us apply a microscope to our business, so we could focus and plan what needed to be done and magnify our potential."

Applications close Wednesday, July 29, with the programmes starting early August. For more information visit the website.

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