The Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and Callaghan Innovation have appointed Auckland Business Chamber as lead delivery partner for the Regional Business Partner Network (RBP). 

The RBP programme – delivered by Tātaki Auckland Unlimited (formerly Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development) since its inception 11 years ago – is a government-funded gateway that connects Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland businesses to advice, people, funding and resources. 

MBIE held a request for proposal process for ongoing delivery of the RBP programme in mid-2021. Tātaki Auckland Unlimited made the decision not to tender and move away from its role as lead delivery partner from July 2022, redirecting resources towards supporting priority industries for regional economic recovery. 

During its time as lead delivery partner, Tātaki Auckland Unlimited has facilitated capability development, innovation, and research and development support for more than 20,000 businesses across the region. In recent times, the RBP has been an important channel for the Government to provide support to businesses impacted by COVID-19.  

Pam Ford, Director Investment and Industry Tātaki Auckland Unlimited says the RBP provides essential support to Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland’s small and medium-sized businesses, and she is confident the appointment of Auckland Business Chamber as the new lead delivery partner will see ongoing positive outcomes for local businesses. 

“Over the eleven years Tātaki Auckland Unlimited has delivered the programme, we’ve seen first-hand the value of RBP support to our local business community. We look forward to seeing the Chamber continue to grow and strengthen businesses across Tāmaki Makaurau.” 

Ford says delivering the RBP has been an extremely rewarding experience for Tātaki Auckland Unlimited, the region’s economic and cultural agency. 

“Each year, for the past 11 years, Tātaki Auckland Unlimited’s delivery of the RBP has connected approximately 1500 small and medium-sized businesses with advice and support from a network of over 1000 service providers,” says Ford.   

The COVID-19 pandemic saw a dramatic shift in the role of the RBP and the number of businesses supported. 

In early 2020, Tātaki Auckland Unlimited mobilised a team of nearly 50 people from across its business to deliver the initial Government support package, with more than $18 million provided via the RBP to facilitate business advice for around 8000 businesses through more than 3000 service providers. 

In late 2021 and early 2022, Tātaki Auckland Unlimited administered the Government’s $60 million business support package for Auckland businesses in partnership with the RBP network. More than 12,000 Tāmaki Makaurau businesses accessed support across advice and planning, implementation, mental health and wellbeing, and business community resources.  

MBIE’s Regional Business Partner Manager Jacinda Swain extended her gratitude to Tātaki Auckland Unlimited for its commitment to RBP, acknowledging the valuable partnership of over a decade.  

“Tātaki Auckland Unlimited has made a significant contribution to the business support in Tāmaki Makaurau and gone to great lengths to support countless business owners over the years, including most recently through the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“We have great respect for the team at Tātaki Auckland Unlimited who will continue to enrich the economic life in Tāmaki Makaurau and value its support in the formation of a strong partnership with our newly appointed RBP, the Auckland Business Chamber,” says Swain.  

Pam Ford says Tātaki Auckland Unlimited remains committed to ensuring local small to medium-sized businesses can access available RBP support and will assist Auckland Business Chamber during the transition period.  

“Throughout this transition period, we’re working closely with MBIE, Auckland Business Chamber and the wider regional business support network to ensure continuity of service for Auckland’s small to medium-sized businesses,” says Ford.  

Tātaki Auckland Unlimited’s move away from leading RBP delivery will see it redirect resources towards supporting priority industries for regional economic recovery, while continuing to work closely with government agencies, including MBIE and Callaghan Innovation, and with the wider business support ecosystem in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland to deliver support for the region’s businesses.