100 Highlander SUVs To Help Small Businesses Recover
a nationwide call for applications, 100 small businesses
from Invercargill to Kaitāia have been chosen from a total
of 4000 entries to receive the free lease of a Toyota
Highlander for 12
The Small Business Driver initiative was conceived by Toyota New Zealand and partnered by MediaWorks, to help small businesses keep moving after the sudden economic shock of COVID-19. Applications from businesses who had received Government wage support and employed fewer than 20 people were received in June and assessed by an independent panel of judges.
Toyota New Zealand Executive, Andrew Davis, said the response to the offer of 100 Highlanders was well beyond Toyota’s expectations and highlighted the need for all New Zealanders, businesses and consumers, to support small businesses.
“Many small businesses are doing it tough following the lockdowns and border restrictions. We heard amazing stories from business owners up and down the country who were doing all they could to keep their businesses going and keep their people in jobs,” Andrew said.
While there were many accounts of hardship, Toyota also received many examples of innovation as businesses adapted to the changing needs of their customers. One example was First Table in Queenstown, an online booking service for restaurants, which moved swiftly to set up an online takeaway directory for restaurants that were also switching from dine in to delivered take outs.
In choosing the 100 businesses the selection panel wanted to include a diverse range of industries and a wide geographic spread of businesses, so recipients ranged from fashion designers and wool buyers, tour guides and restaurants, electricians and builders, physical therapists and podiatrists, shopkeepers and beekeepers. The list goes on.
“We were heartened by the stories we received,” says Andrew. “From the garden centre in Christchurch that had to give away most of its plants in the days before the Level 4 lockdown, to the zipline operator on Waiheke Island who was just about to open a new business in Kaikōura that would have employed 30 people.”
Andrew says it was a humbling experience to read the entries and an honour for the team to call the 100 businesses which had been chosen to receive a Toyota Highlander for a year as well as a share of a $1 million radio advertising fund provided by MediaWorks.
He thanked his Toyota colleagues and MediaWorks for throwing their support into the programme and the selection panel for giving up their time to read hundreds of entries.
The panel was Kirk Hope, CEO of Business New Zealand; business owner and Toyota Ambassador, Marc Ellis; Tim Lockhart, Head of Direct Sales at MediaWorks; and Isobel Kerr-Newell of Saatchi & Saatchi.