BNZ opens free co-working space in Christchurch

At BNZ we love supporting entrepreneurs to grow their business and want to help businesses work together to build new relationships and create a culture of collaboration and innovation.

Christchurch is a community that’s proven it’s full of strong, resourceful and collaborative people so we’re excited to announce that we’ve opened a free co-working space for small to medium enterprises in Christchurch’s CBD called community101.

Continue reading…

New Zealand’s Deloitte Fast 50 announced

The 16th edition of the New Zealand Deloitte Fast 50 list was announced last night after a day of business inspiration and advice at Villa Maria Estate from some of NZ’s top athletes, business leaders and companies. It’s BNZ’s third year sponsoring the event and 21 of the 50 companies on this year’s list are BNZ customers. BNZ Director of Partners Shelley Ruha on the importance of picking the right partners for your business.  Continue reading…

Do I really have to network?

You’ve probably heard it said that networking is an essential art to master for any small business owner in search of success. However, actually getting out there and doing it is often easier said than done. Where do you start? How should you prepare? What’s the etiquette? There are dozens, if not hundreds of specialised networking groups all around New Zealand. Some have specific areas of interest, while others are broader. Some are free and some require paid membership. It can all be a bit confusing. Continue reading…

Video Visionary: How Wellington start-up Wipster came to be

Rollo Wenlock is a firm believer in the power of the moving image – and the failure of too many companies to make effective use of it. As CEO of the Wellington start-up Wipster, Wenlock is the man behind a collaboration tool that helps simplify and speed up the process of making videos, and he believes there is a large potential market for other ways of putting the medium to better use. Continue reading…

Crowdfunding cash: 5 ways to fund your start-up business

So, you’ve had the idea, you’ve sorted the business plan, and now you need some cold hard cash to kick start your plans into reality. But where does one turn to find start up capital? You can use traditional ways like borrowing from a bank (like us) but there are plenty of options for sourcing revenue that can complement traditional lending, to help start and grow your business.

Here are 5 ideas for funding your start-up that could ease the burden of debt and kick start your business.

1. Angel investors

An angel investor is simply a high-net-worth individual (often a successful entrepreneur) looking to invest funds in an innovative start up business they can contribute their skills to. Angel investors tend to look to invest in high-growth businesses that are focused on significant global opportunities. Most angel investors typically pick investment opportunities in their fields of expertise so they can apply their experience to helping the business succeed.

They usually look for investment opportunities at earlier stages in the life of a business than other types of investors or lenders. If they can see the potential of an idea, they’re more likely to invest in a young start up business they can nurture.

In return for capital investment and their expertise, angel investors usually take an equity share in the business and expect a healthy short-term return on their investment.

The ICE Angels are a great place to start. Here is an introduction to how the process works and how to get in touch with them.

2. Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is the newest trend in raising capital and is most appropriate for higher-risk creative and artistic projects that can be harder to fund through traditional providers.

Crowdfunding websites often offer rewards, discounts and special privileges (such as receiving a pre-release or beta version of a product) in return for small investments.

Each crowdfunding website operates to different rules, so make sure you research your options carefully before choosing one as a platform to seek investment.

3. Grants and financial incentives

There are a wide variety of grants and incentives on-hand to give Kiwi start-ups a welcome boost. Even some free advice and contacts could be all you need to take your business to the next level.

Here are some options to explore:

Callaghan Innovation
Callaghan Innovation is a stand-alone Crown entity that works with businesses of all shapes and sizes to innovate and grow.

Callaghan Innovation administers more than $140 million a year in business research and development (R&D) funding through three grants programmes:

• R&D Growth Grants for businesses experienced in research and development in New Zealand, to support an increase in investment.
• R&D Project Grants for smaller research and development programmes and start-ups and those new to R&D.
• R&D Student Grants to support students to work in a commercial research and development environment.

Find out more about grants offered by Callaghan Innovation and how to apply.

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) Capability Development Vouchers
Your business could qualify for vouchers to help pay for services such as workshops, courses and coaching that build your skills and capability.

Find out if your business qualifies.

Regional Business Partners
There are 14 Regional Business Partners in every corner of the country to help local businesses grow and innovate, by providing expert advice and even access to funding. Their services are free of charge and you get in touch with them at anytime you need advice.

Find out how to contact your local Regional Business Partner.

4. Borrowing from family and friends
Getting a cash injection from a family member or friend can be a good option provided you are aware of the risks. They’re likely to trust in your judgement and be more accepting of your business case than traditional lenders and investors.

Introducing finances into any relationship can strain ties and damage trust if things don’t work out as planned. Always make sure you document the arrangement with a signed contract that sets out the terms and conditions in writing. If you are dealing with a significant amount of money, it’s a good idea to consult a lawyer to help you draft the contract.

5. Offering sweat equity instead of cash
Cash doesn’t always solve the problem – offering sweat equity is a good way to boost your capability and grow your expertise. Sweat equity involves contributing to a business or project in the form of effort – instead of financial equity, in the form of capital. In a partnership, some partners may contribute only capital and others only sweat equity to the business. In this case, a person is able to supply their skills or experience (instead of capital) in exchange for a share of the business or future payment.

Here are some examples where offering sweat equity could work:

• A carpenter being offering a stake in a carpentry business in return for fitting out a premises or workshop.
• An artist supplying their works as part of a shared space or for future payment.
• A group of people pooling their skills and efforts to launch a cooperative – such as a grocer or retail space.

Once you’ve worked out the best way to fund your start up business, we have small business specialists available to help you manage that money to grow your business. To talk to us about any of the angel investors and business incubators we have teamed up with, call us on 0800 269 763.

Tax Time: Tips for managing the challenges involved

Tax is a major focus for New Zealand companies at this time of year. BNZ’s taxation team provide their top tips for managing the challenges involved.

April brings the beginning of the new tax year. Although most companies and business owners are relieved that March is over, and all the last-minute tax housekeeping matters for the last year have been dealt with, BNZ Head of Taxation, Campbell Rapley says it’s a good time to consider important tax matters for the year to come. He and his team have some key advice for managing what’s required.

  • Making payments and filing tax returns on time can save a business a lot of money. Inland Revenue’s use-of-money interest rates and penalties can quickly add up. The Inland Revenue website ( has a good example of a $1000 debt costing another $96 in penalties and interest if paid three months late – equating to an annual interest rate of 38.4 percent. Using bank credit lines or a tax-pooling intermediary (such as Tax Management New Zealand) can help reduce this cost if cash flow is tight. Alternatively, contacting Inland Revenue prior to the tax due date and agreeing to pay the tax due in installments can also reduce the penalties charged.
  • Provisional tax payments are an area which may seem straightforward but getting it wrong can cause cash flow issues. The final provisional tax payment for the tax year (for those with the standard March 31 balance date) is due on May 7. This is an opportunity to quickly recalculate your tax liability for the year. If your tax payable for the year looks higher than was anticipated when making the first two provisional tax payments, you could increase the payment due on May 7 to reduce any interest costs.
  • Keeping good records during the year makes life a lot easier. Remember that to be able to claim GST back on purchases, you must hold a valid tax invoice. The only exception is where the purchase of goods or services was for less than $50, but even in this situation you should keep a record of the date of the transaction, a description of the goods or services, and the cost and name of the supplier for both GST and income tax purposes. All tax records need to be kept for at least seven years.
  • Tax is a complicated business and mistakes can happen. If an error is uncovered after a return has been filed, you should contact Inland Revenue as soon as possible to discuss the correction of it. If you do this before Inland Revenue announce that they are going to undertake a tax audit of your business, some of the shortfall penalties that could otherwise be applied may be remitted. It may be that the error led to an overpayment of tax and you would be due a refund, but either way, advising of an error is evidence of you taking your tax responsibilities seriously and having a good review procedure in place. Now is a good time to put all those tax filing and payment dates in the diary and to do a stocktake of your document retention policy.

This publication has been provided for general information only and should not be relied upon. To the extent that any information or recommendations in this publication constitute tax or financial advice, they do not take into account any person’s particular financial situation or goals. Bank of New Zealand strongly recommends readers seek independent tax/legal/financial advice prior to acting in relation to any of the matters discussed in this publication.

Originally published in Kia Ora magazine.