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Last modified: 20 Oct 2020 8:15am

A crowd of people in a cafe turned listening to a speaker

An opportunity to support businesses and enable them to keep operating well in uncertain times was the aim of the first Selwyn Business Breakfast.

More than 60 people from businesses across the district attended the first Council-run breakfast in Rolleston, to network and hear from guest speakers.

Ministry of Social Development Regional Commissioner for Canterbury Dianne McDermott spoke about the ministry’s Business Support packages available to help businesses through the impacts of the pandemic.

Economist Benje Patterson reported back on the results of the first Selwyn Business Survey, a quarterly survey organised by the Council. The survey showed that although conditions have been tough, Selwyn businesses reported better operating conditions than the rest of New Zealand. There is guarded optimism for the next six months and some optimism for the future longer-term, with job cuts anticipated to taper off, investment to stabilise, and losses to narrow.

Mayor Sam Broughton says the breakfasts fit with the Council’s aim to be an enabling Council that helps people to do what they want to do.

“We’re about holding hands with people and pointing them in the right direction.”

Many of the guests spoke about the benefits of meeting with other businesses, to know they were facing similar challenges and opportunities.

The sentiment was echoed by Margaret Craw, who owns a hairdressing salon in Rolleston and enjoyed the opportunity to meet other businesses and learn more about the wider economic conditions in the district and supports available.

“It’s a great thing to do to get everyone together and realise you’re not out there on your own. I’ve picked up quite a lot of information on how things are for everyone. I’m looking forward to the next one.”