Sometimes all a business needs is a bit of a boost.

This may be to take a bigger bite of the health food snacks market, explore new tourism ventures, increase a mountain biking fleet or produce online educational media content. And this is just a snap shot of previous winners.

Since 2014, Top Energy has supported local businesses with its biannual $30k Business Development Grant. The Grant also includes six months of business mentoring.

Chief Executive Russell Shaw is encouraging aspiring entrepreneurs and established businesses to apply for the next round, which is open between 8 April and 4 May. Winners will be announced in July 2018.

Selection is a competitive process and applications will be judged against the potential the business has to grow or diversity the Far North economy.

“Every year it gets harder to choose a winner. I am constantly amazed by the ingenuity and innovation demonstrated by our applicants.”

Mr Shaw encourages all budding and established entrepreneurs in the Far North to “take up the challenge and realise your own business potential.” .

One of last year’s winners, Maria Kire from Whispering Trails, a Hokianga based eco-tourism business says the Business Development Grant was an opportunity to test the company’s business plan and identify what was needed to get fully established in the industry.

“Media coverage following the announcement we had won helped in gaining recognition for Whispering Trails with our peers in the tourism industry as well as sparking interest with business partners and support in our community.

“The Grant itself enabled the business to establish a more solid foundation and dreams of growth became a reality,” she says.

Top Energy’s most recent recipient, Jonny Martin from Paihia Mountain Bikes agrees with Maria and says the Grant is a “fantastic opportunity that everyone that has just started a business, growing a business or looking to get into a new venture should consider”.

“It is a great kick-start and helps push your business in the right direction to enable employment and diversification in the region,” he says.

The Business Development Grant is either awarded in full to a single stand-out idea or in smaller amounts to several initiatives, depending on the number, quality and merit of the applications received.

Mr Shaw says the time is right for businesses to take advantage of growth in the area.

Northland is growing in business confidence and was ranked in last year’s ASBs Regional Economic Scoreboard as the second strongest in the country for economic growth. This is also backed up by a report from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment picking Northland as a growth area for high-paying digital jobs.

“This is a great time to be considering what level you want to take your business or embark on a start-up.”

A previous winner, local media producer Kylie Penn, made this video for Top Energy sponsored Westpac Northland Business Excellence Awards in 2017. It is a growing group of businesses that are getting hooked.

www.facebook.com/topenergynz/videos/715467968662404/

For more information on the business development fund go to:  www.topenergy.co.nz/sponsorship/business-development-fund

For more information contact

Philippa White
021 2418740