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Small business grants, subsidies and help

Start up

When starting your business, making sure you’re aware of the Government support such as grants, low-cost business advice and mentoring will help you get off the ground. There are also many private sector and regional support networks that can be a big support for new businesses.

Your first step is the Regional Business Partner Network so sign up with the local office of the Regional Business Partner Network. This can be your gateway to a wealth of advice and knowledge to support you and your business.

Research and Development (R&D)

The Government’s business R&D funding programmes are managed by Callaghan Innovation, a Crown entity set up to provide assistance for business start-up and growth.

Getting started grant

If your business is planning to embark on its first R&D project, it could receive an R&D Getting Started Grant of up to $5,000. This helps pay for some of your business’s external R&D expenses in areas such as feasibility studies and prototyping.

Employment assistance

When you’re taking on staff for the first time, your business could benefit from government schemes that help with employment costs.


Under the government-subsidised New Zealand Apprenticeships scheme run by the Tertiary Education Commission, your business can train a highly skilled worker, who’ll also be studying for relevant qualifications. The scheme is organised and managed by Industry Training Organisations (ITOs).

Flexi-wage and Flexi-wage Plus subsidies

If new staff members need training and supervision before they can carry out their duties independently, your business could benefit from Work and Income’s Flexi-Wage schemes. You’ll get the wages of new staff subsidised for up to a year.

Modification grants and job support for disabled employees

Work and Income’s Modification Grants contribute towards the cost of installing ramps and other facilities for disabled staff, who may also receive financial help with employment-related costs like transport, modified equipment and mentoring.

Energy efficiency grants

Becoming more energy efficient will enable your business to reduce its energy bills by at least 20%, according to the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA). A variety of EECA grants may be available to help your business save energy and make greater use of renewable energy.

Grants to help your business grow

Once your business is past start-up phase, the range of government support opens up, from grants and mentoring to tailored support schemes for different industries and different business goals. Help from the government shouldn’t be mistaken for grants and grants alone. Much of the assistance available aims to help you build your skills and knowledge, lay solid business foundations and launch into new areas.

New Zealand Trade & Enterprise (NZTE) Capability Development Vouchers

NZTE Capability Development Vouchers can help with the costs of training and other business development activities, including business planning, marketing and exporting.

Your Regional Business Partner can help you apply for a NZTE Capability Development Voucher.

Financial guarantees for exporters

Although exporting is a great way of growing your business, it can be risky and difficult to manage financially. For these reasons, the New Zealand Export Credit Office (NZECO) offers financial guarantees for businesses looking to start exporting. To be eligible for their assistance, a business needs to be commercially sound and must meet NZ Government and other international guidelines regarding export credits. You can find out more at the NZECO website.

Support for Māori business owners

The Māori Business Growth Service supports Māori business owners and entrepreneurs starting out. You’ll be paired with an account manager who will work with you to identify your needs. Account managers are located throughout New Zealand.

Mentoring and business advice

There is a large range of business advice that you can tap into, for starters;

  • Join your industry’s business association. It’s a great way of meeting a mentor who has the exact experience and expertise you’re looking for.

  • Most councils in NZ have various incentives to start a business in their region. For example; Creative HQ is funded by the Wellington Council CDC run by the Christchurch City Council ATEED based in Auckland Enterprise Dunedin

Business associations

Business groups and associations are about using the power of one voice to gain better outcomes. By joining your industry association, you and your business can reap the benefits.

Associations enable businesses in the same industry to get together and discuss what’s on their minds, such as:

  • Industry-wide issues – regulatory changes and their potential impact can help members stay ahead of the curve.

  • Emerging trends – these may become clearer when networking with other business owners in your industry.

  • New ideas and best practices – to improve business productivity and profitability.

If you’re just starting up, accessing this support can have a positive influence on your business.


As you can see, it’s worth doing your due diligence when it comes to government assistance because of the wide range of support available.

Many of the programmes that offer financial assistance are also available to provide business advice, which is well worth taking advantage of, particularly when you’re just starting out.

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