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Stress on Rural Business Prompts New Initiative

8th August 2013

Media Release

Stress on Rural Business Prompts New Initiative From Business Mentors

Business Mentors New Zealand has announced a new initiative to increase business mentoring support to rural businesses throughout New Zealand, which are facing increasing levels of stress worsened by the aftermath of the recent drought, tighter regulations on health and safety, and environmental controls.

The new initiative supported by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment sees the $150 Business Mentors’ registration fee waived for businesses in areas where a medium-scale drought was declared. The country’s 17 Business Mentoring agencies are being encouraged to place greater emphasis on supporting rural enterprises.

Ray Schofield CEO of Business Mentors New Zealand says: `We know that your typical Kiwi guy won’t ask for the help that could help him take his company to the next level.

The purpose of this initiative is to assist rural businesses affected by the drought in those areas where the medium-scale drought has been declared. The funding is specifically to enable free client registrations that normally cost $150. Funding of these registration costs are seen as a means of removing any real or perceived barriers to business owners accessing support from BMNZ.’

Rising pressures on farmers and recent statistics that show stress and depression is a real issue in rural communities, which has serious economic consequences. Ministry of Health data shows the suicide rate for those living in rural areas is 16 per 100,000 people, compared to a rate of 11.2 per 100,000 people in urban areas

Lack of support for farmers in particular leads to poorer decision making on farm, affecting animals and the whole farm system. This often leads to poorer farm productivity and profitability.

Ray Schofield explains: `A business mentor is unique one-to-one, confidential and highly experienced in the trials and tribulations of running a small to medium sized enterprise. One of the big things is the isolation which rural businesses are often faced. A business mentor takes that away and provides a sounding board to take the company to the next level.’

Business Mentors New Zealand is the country’s only national volunteer business mentoring service. The not for profit organisation helps around 250 businesses find a mentor every month and has assisted more than 65,000 small to medium-size enterprise owners in New Zealand in the last 22 years. Business Mentors provides access to over 1,900 volunteer mentors (who give their experience, skill and knowledge free of charge). The $150 registration fee allows mentoring for up to two years.

Rural businesses who wish to apply for a mentor under this new initiative are advised to call 0800 209 209 to see if they meet MBIE criteria for a registration code.

For more information please visit


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