Lessons from Recover Canterbury

With over six million dollars distributed, 7000 businesses supported and an estimated $39 million retained in the economy, Recover Canterbury closed its doors this week knowing its role, post quake was done…and done well.

Recover Canterbury, the organisation formed by Canterbury Development Corporation (CDC) and the Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce (CECC), and supported by several government agencies to help small and medium businesses survive, revive and thrive following the earthquakes involved a huge learning curve for all involved in setting up and running the organisation.

Initially, Recover Canterbury’s role was to identify what emergency help businesses needed and ensure they received it. In the first month following the February 2011 quake, it assisted more than 3000 businesses in gaining access to their premises. At its peak, Recover Canterbury had 30 team members on the road providing support in the business community.

Recover Canterbury was always to be a temporary organisation. This month, after 26 months, it closed its doors. In that time, the organisation had contact with around 7,000 businesses. In 2012, CDC assessed its economic impact: by the most conservative assumptions, Recover Canterbury saved 617 jobs, and kept $39 million in the economy. Almost 400 businesses received funding of $6.1 million.

We are confident that now is the appropriate time to stop operating. We have produced a summary of what we have observed to help businesses and recovery organisations plan for and survive future disasters. Here we share a few of the most important components.

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Canterbury Business Support Services

There are a range of organisations operating in Canterbury which offer long-term business support. We encourage businesses to utilise the services and resources on offer, many of which can be accessed free of charge.

Click here to see the full list of business support services available to Canterbury businesses.