Nelson Regional Development Agency appointed as Regional Business Partner for Te Tauihu for the 11th consecutive year

Written by Charlotte Lang

Posted on Tuesday 26 July 2022

Nelson Regional Development Agency (NRDA) have been appointed the Regional Business Partner for Te Tauihu following a competitive 6-month process.

The 3-year Regional Business Partner (RBP) Network contract will enable NRDA to continue their valued partnership with MBIE and Callaghan Innovation to deliver enterprise support services across the Te Tauihu business community.

Through the RBP programme, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across Te Tauihu can gain access to independent advice, management capability funding, R&D funding, specialist expertise at business growth and innovation capabilities, as well as connections across the local & national ecosystem.

The COVID-19 crisis has had a significant impact on SMEs across Te Tauihu. The Regional Business Partner (RBP) Network was identified as a scalable, existing network that had the ability to reach SMEs to provide business continuity support as the impacts of COVID-19 became known.

As lockdown impacted our whole community, the Nelson Regional Development Agency RBP team worked seven days per week for four months to meet demand and support our local business community. During the 2020/2021 financial year the NRDA saw a 250% increase in demand through the RBP Programme due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and supported/advised a range of businesses, from sole traders through to our globally focussed export companies.

Fiona Wilson, CE of NRDA is proud of the ongoing benefit the RBP programme continues to bring to the region through this partnership. “The RBP programme plays a significant role in the Te Tauihu economic and entrepreneurial ecosystem. Since 2011, over 5,000 SMEs across Te Tauihu have benefited from the RBP programme,” Wilson says.

“This continued investment signals the ongoing commitment to helping SMEs innovate and grow. It is also a celebration of the strong partnership between MBIE / Callaghan Innovation and NRDA.”

Regional Business Partners are centres of business development know-how and research and development (R&D) expertise for local companies. The NRDA will work with the Nelson Tasman Chamber of Commerce and Marlborough Chamber of Commerce, to deliver the programme.

Manager, Innovation and Business Growth at NRDA, Mark Maguire, who leads the RBP programme says ‘’NRDA have built a strong reputation for assisting local SMEs to improve their management practices and to understand how innovation and investment into R&D can grow their business.”

“We provide a range of business services to support enterprises at all levels, including start-up workshops for early-stage businesses, funding facilitation, mentoring and independent advice, sector & cluster facilitation, through to working with our global companies taking new tech to the world,’’ continued Maguire.

NRDA have been a critical support for many local businesses, including through COVID lockdowns, helping them navigate their business journey and supporting their growth and development whilst also building a pipeline of innovative regional companies.

Chloe Van Dyke, Founder of Chia Sisters explains, ‘’The NRDA have been pivotal in helping us to scale our business by assisting us to access a wide range of support. They have provided us with advice on our business case, access to expertise, global search facilities, R&D grant funding, and they have been pivotal in creating introductions and connections both locally and nationally.”

“This support has helped us to achieve increased revenues, significantly improve our internal production capabilities and encouraged us to keep innovating and introducing new products for our customers.’’ Van Dyke says.