The New Zealand government provides numerous grant and allowance opportunities for new, emerging and innovative businesses. Even self-employed sole traders can receive everything from financial assistance to business advice to help get their enterprise off the ground.

Of course, government grants are not opportunities to obtain free money. They are opportunities to work in partnership with the department(s) behind the grant to build up your business’s capabilities, offerings, skills, capacity or knowledge. 

Grants and Funding

In this article, we’ll introduce you to some of the various grants and funding schemes on offer to New Zealand based businesses. It is important to note that this information is only current as of the time of writing this and updated information should be checked directly with the government website.

Primary Industry Grants

The Ministry for Primary Industries offers grant opportunities as well as co-investment funding options to businesses who work in the primary sector or who use primary industry materials to make products, such as food and beverage manufacturers. 

Special consideration is given to businesses wanting to increase sustainability in their operations, improve productivity or enhance biosecurity in New Zealand. Examples include upgrades to agriculture irrigation schemes, research programs or maximisation of land productivity in Māori collective ownership.

Applications need to be made directly through the grants portal on the Ministry for Primary Industries website.

Expert Access Grant

The Callaghan Innovation agency as part of the New Zealand government helps business owners connect with the right advisor, mentor or partner for their business. This can even include technology providers or suppliers. 

To find out more, visit the Callaghan Innovation webpage.

Capability Development Vouchers

New Zealand Trade & Enterprise (NZTE) provides businesses the opportunity to receive up to 50% of capability development training co-funded as part of their business planning, exporting operations, capital raising or various other development activities. For information regarding eligibility and process you can visit the website here.

Energy Management Support

Spearheaded by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA), businesses investing in cost-cutting and energy-efficient manufacturing processes can receive support and co-funding from a range of sustainability-focused programs.

To view the different categories and associated details, visit the EECA webpage.

Grants for New Business Owners on Benefit

The Work and Income agency runs a flexi-wage program for people on benefits who want to start a business or become self-employed. The program provides advice and, in some instances, financial support depending on the outcome of the application with the relevant case manager.

To be eligible for the program, you must be on a main benefit scheme, such as sole parent support or supporting living payments, and your new business cannot be a restarted business or for someone currently bankrupt. 

In addition to the flexi-wage program, set-up cost and other financial support is available, including business advisor costs. 

You can find out more about the program and available grants here.

Regional Business Partner Network

The 14 Regional Business Partner Networks don’t provide financial grants or allowances but do offer free advice and information for registered parties who are eligible. Any business, including the self-employed, can register regardless of how early or progressed they are in their business establishment and growth stage. 

Once registered, a Business Partner will contact your business and help you identify relevant gaps or opportunities to future proof your business and ensure ongoing, sustainable success.

Specific offerings include:

  • Business skills and knowledge development in:
    • business planning and systems
    • sustainability for businesses
    • raising capital
    • export
    • finance
    • governance
    • intellectual property
    • manufacturing/operations
    • managing resources
    • marketing
  • Connections with private business networks and government assistance
  • Research and development support
  • Connections to professionals and advisors in various areas across your business

If you’d like to find out more, click here.

Māori Business Owners’ Program

This free offering is available through the Te Puni Kōkiri for all Māori business owners, though it is particularly suitable for small to medium sized enterprises looking to build their skills and knowledge. 

Eligible businesses need to undertake a needs-based assessment which will determine the type of ongoing support or information best suits their circumstance. If you’d like to find out more, click here.

Māori Innovation Fund

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment opens an annual call for proposals from Māori collectives and trusts for support through the Māori Innovation Fund. 

For up to date details visit the Māori economic development webpage directly.

Other Forms of Funding

While the New Zealand government does provide support for entrepreneurs and new business owners, not all schemes provide actual financial funding. Nevertheless, the support, mentorship and training can be very helpful for growing businesses.

If you are interested in finding more information about government grants for your business, click here if you business is new, and here if you business is already established. 

Private Funding

The New Zealand Trade & Enterprise (NZTE) also provides a useful network for business support, including access to investment opportunities, expertise and even private funding. Click here to find out more.

If you’re interested in going down the route of private investment with your business, visit the New Zealand Investment Network organisation here.

Fund Your Business with ScotPac

ScotPac is a financial institution that’s big enough to trust but small enough to care. We work with a range of New Zealand based businesses across the spectrum of industries and in a variety of different stages of growth. 

By understanding the specific requirements of our clients and their respective businesses we can offer working capital solutions that best suit their needs and ensure the right cash flow to fuel ongoing success. 

So, if you’re interested in finding out how we can help you access the working capital your business needs or you’d like to simply talk about which of the available grants from the government you might be eligible for, contact your local ScotPac office today.