Through the GCBSF, DWC issued loans to 42 businesses in the area in the 2021-22 financial year. Structured not merely as a stop-gap measure, the fund aimed to retain employment and secure the long-term viability of the community. The underlying principle was to protect the social fabric of the area, rather than offering one-off grants to individuals.
Two years down the track and the GCBSF has proven instrumental in buoying many businesses through the crisis. With the reopening of international borders, these businesses are regaining momentum, bolstering the region’s economy - a genuine demonstration of collaboration and community resilience.
“We are so glad that DWC came to our rescue to stay in business during COVID-19 times. Without your help we would not have a Café. The loan helped us with paying the suppliers and definitely helped to stay in business. We are forever grateful for this.”
“Two years on, it’s easy to forget that COVID-19 and the rapid closure of international borders had huge economic and social repercussions, and for South Westland particularly," said Barry Hughes from Okarito Kayaks.
"This was a genuine existential threat to our long-running business, which supports our family and local community. At the most critical moment, DWC’s decision to step in and offer highly targeted direct financial support, that central government had refused to consider, was crucial in providing us with the cashflow and confidence to persist through the uncertainty of 2021."
“Now, two years later, we are grateful to be in a position to be able repay our loan, and to have returned to employing, and investing in, the young New Zealanders that we hope will become the future business leaders on the Coast.”
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