By David Hill
The Covid-19 experience has prompted locals to explore new opportunities.
Enterprise North Canterbury business manager Miles Dalton has been flooded with enquiries since last year’s lockdown, as local residents have taken the opportunity to re-examine their goals.
More than 100 enquiries have been received from people interested in going out on their own over the last 12 months.
He is working with 27 projects likely to lead to new businesses and several are expected to create jobs.
Waipara resident John Dingle has taken the plunge, launching a new business, New Life Washing Machinesin September.
“I’ve had thoughts of being my own boss for a number of years, but it was that time
of being at home around Covid that prompted me.
“I had the time to fiddle with a broken washing machine we had at home during the lockdown and it just went from there.”
After seeking advice from friends, he sat down with an accountant and registered a company name, but soon realised there was a lot more to it.
Thanks to Ministry of Social Development funding, ENC has been able to offer a free business start-up course and Mr Dingle was lucky enough to get on the course.
“It was really helpful and filled in a lot of gaps and opened my eyes to what a business is about, and knowing all the resources that are available to help you.
“And now I’m able to get ongoing support from Miles.”
Mr Dingle is buying old washing machines and giving them a clean-up and service to onsell with a three-month warranty.
Nutritionist Alyssa Wright has been quietly working away at setting up her own business, Youtritionlockdown.
She says completing ENC’s business course has been a big help.
“There’s a lot more to it that I didn’t even think about.
“It has helped to answer my questions and it’s not so daunting now. It’s just taken a lot longer than I thought to do it properly.
“It’s a lot of hard work, but knowing there’s someone you can talk to makes a big difference.”
Ms Wright is looking to develop an online presence with videos and recipes to raise her profile so she can offer individualised nutrition services.
Both Mr Dingle and Ms Wright are continuing to work in paid employment while their businesses become established.
They encourage others to take the plunge, provided they do their homework first.
“I would say to anybody who has an idea, to go and talk to a business adviser or someone who is in business already, and once you’ve gathered some information, go to an accountant so see what’s required,” Mr Dingle says.
Ms Wright cautions: “Don’t try to do it all on your own.
“Seek as much help as you can and take your time.”
There are several options for setting up a business, depending on what prospective business owners want to achieve, including charitable trusts, social enterprises or commercial enterprises.