Plans to name a proposed merger between the Otago Chamber of Commerce and Otago Southland Employers Association ‘Business South’ is a real concern for Great South, Southland’s Regional Development Agency.
Great South Chief Executive Graham Budd said given the role Great South plays to drive local business development, including holding the contract for the Regional Business Partner Network and administering the Government’s COVID-19 Advisory funding, a new entity named ‘Business South’ would cause considerable confusion at local and national level.
“Great South has a clear mandate, and significant national body and government support, to deliver business development services to businesses in Southland. The name Business South would complicate this understanding in the community and potentially lead to barriers in businesses accessing expert advice and support,”
As the Regional Business Partner for the Southland region, Great South connects businesses with the resources, networks and experts needed to build capability, and grow. This includes working with New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE), Callaghan Innovation and Business Mentors New Zealand to encourage businesses to innovate, explore research and development (R&D) opportunities, build capability, and develop long-term strategies for growth.
Budd said it is therefore vitally important that the name for the proposed new entity doesn’t infer that it will be the only place for business services and support in our region, as this is not correct.
“Great South is committed to building business capability across the region and the proposed name ‘Business South’ would convolute this offering. We also share the concerns expressed by the Southland Chamber of Commerce regarding the territory the proposed entity would cover and what affect this would have upon Southland’s voice at a national level,” he said.
Budd said the Southland Chamber of Commerce is proactive in representing businesses across the province and any proposed merger would need to clearly outline how this would continue to allow the Southland Chamber of Commerce to do this and ensure Southland’s business community is appropriately represented.