As many as 150 small Canterbury firms are folding because of the earthquake, the Canterbury Employers Chamber of Commerce estimates.
Chief executive Peter Townsend says that's a small percentage of about 15,000 small businesses in the region - but about 500 jobs are involved.
Mr Townsend says the main problems are cashflow and access to buildings deemed unsafe.
He says Finance Minister Bill English and Social Development Minister Paula Bennett have assured him more money will be made available, if necessary, for subsidising wages and ensuring businesses stay open.
He says the ministers have also assured him the employee subsidy scheme introduced shortly after the quake will continue.
Up to 10 large businesses are also struggling since the quake; Mr Townsend says assistance for them is being considered on a case-by-case basis.
A spokesperson for Ms Bennett says it's likely the assistance will
Cupcake Parlour could fold
The once popular Cupcake Parlour could be one of the small business that folds - it's been closed since the quake because the buildings around it are unsafe.
Director Annabelle Newman says $10,000 is needed to relocate.
She says any businessperson who gets government help should have to report back on how the money was spent.