Some damaged businesses are voluntarily repaying grants given to them by Canterbury Business Recovery Trust.
The trust was set up in the aftermath of the February 2011 earthquake to help businesses needing assistance.
Grants distributed to date now top $5 million.
Spokesperson Pip Tschudin says it's heartening to see business that are back on their feet giving back to the trust, in order to help others.
While the return is still on a small scale, she says it is the start of a positive trend.