Situation lifts for some businesses.

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Otago Chamber chief executive Dougal McGowan

Column: A word from Otago Chamber of Commerce chief executive Dougal McGowan.

This week has been one of better news for many businesses but not all.

The first real feeling of a holiday for many was also a time for people to travel locally, spend locally or visit locally. This saw yet again a slight increase in spend across many sectors. This coincided with a lift in business confidence, though still very low on historical trends.

The announcement of a business support package through the Regional Business Partnership programme was very welcome. This targeted support is to help businesses work through issues they may be facing or need support with, by using external agencies.

Locally already this will mean another $1 million being able to be accessed by local business to get support from hopefully other local advisers. For many this will be the lifeline that will help them plan and create ways to keep their doors open.

Each recipient business goes through a discovery session with one of our advisers before being given options of the support they need and the registered providers who deliver those services. With about 600 businesses in the queue to receive this support it is going to be a busy time.

The other news which is positive for the city is the announcement of the Workforce Central Dunedin Skills Hub. This is a great initiative to support the work that is going to happen with the hospital rebuild. Builds of this scale for a city of our size will pose some significant labour issues at times. The groundwork carried out over the past two years has meant that the city and the rebuild labour planning is ahead of the curve in being able to plan for the future demand. This includes the recent appointment of a regional education-to-employment broker to help facilitate and create opportunities for pupils, schools and businesses to connect with regards to future employment opportunities or placement.

The Otago Chamber of Commerce is proud to be involved with all of these recent initiatives.The city and region are well placed to launch our economic recovery. A strong primary sector, large infrastructure, planned building projects and a strong labour force market will hopefully see this recovery flow through the economy, the community and into families.