A business development manager in Niue says funds being given to some business operators on the island are having the desired effect.
The grants, provided by the New Zealand government through its aid programme, are not large - the biggest being just over US$3,000.
But Elliott Kirton, who is a business development manager for the Chamber of Commerce, says they are useful for the mostly small businesses on the island.
ELLIOTT KIRTON: It's funding that was requested by the Chamber of Commerce and the private sector and reflected that a lot of the businesses have relatively low turnover and find it difficult and probably quite poor or difficult liability. So most of them have difficulty in terms of investing back into their businesses in order to be able to grow or to expand the products of services they can provide.
DON WISEMAN: So we're talking very small amounts of money here, but they have to use this to grow the business?
EK: Yeah, to grow it or improve viability or to expand the products and services.
DW: What sort of things?
EK: We've got people who are carvers looking to increase production so they can sell at the markets and sell to the increasing tourist market. We've got builders purchasing scaffolding so that they can work off the ground and make any health and safety requirements. We've got electricians being able to buy tools that enable them to... once again, for safety purposes. So it's a wide range. Some of them are businesses that aren't currently operating as full-time businesses and it's to enable them to purchase tools or fishing rods or reels or equipment to enable those services full-time or at least expand the business.
DW: So these businesses would see this as a good little lift-up?
EK: Yeah, it is. It's not large amounts of funding. It predominantly just helps them take that next step or give them a return, at least, where they can, as I say, expand what they're currently doing.
DW: How much in the budget?
EK: So total funding for it is about $250,000.
DW: And that's part of New Zealand's aid allocation. Will that happen in subsequent years?
EK: It was predominantly for this year with the increased numbers of tourists expected to come in and the increased investment of infrastructure in Niue. So it was to enable businesses to take advantage of that. It may happen in future, but it's probably more likely just to have been this year.
DW: Alright. So you're involved in business development on the island. Is much business being developed on the island?
EK: Yeah, we're definitely seeing growth. I think over the last few years we've seen almost a doubling in the number of businesses, so that's showing that, one, people can see opportunities that are being created predominantly from the investment in tourism and the increase in tourism numbers. And I think it also shows that people here are beginning to understand the benefits of actually being in the private sector of entrepreneurship. And there's opportunities outside of the public sector. There's actually a lot of opportunities in the private sector to have a career.