The recovery of hard-hit Christchurch businesses and community groups has been boosted by free access to the essentials of day-to-day business operations with the Westpac Business & Community Hub.
This facility provides various services including phone, broadband, video conferencing, work spaces, formal and casual meeting places and a corporate lounge.
Located next to CBS Arena, the Westpac Business & Community Hub covers 2500sqm and can be extended. It is open to any Christchurch business and community group impacted by the earthquakes, whether Westpac customers or not.
John Brophy, Westpac’s South Island manager of Business Banking, says the Hub is a result of customer feedback, with Westpac contacting 3000 business customers in Christchurch after the quakes.
“The overwhelming response was practical. Help was needed for organisations to maintain daily operations and important business relationships,” says Brophy. “We decided to provide a solution — the Westpac Business and Community Hub, offering essential business tools in a business environment free of charge.”
Many organisations, suppliers and customers have had to relocate due to the quakes, making face-to-face meetings and ongoing business relationships difficult. The Westpac Business & Community Hub is easy to access and already acting as a meeting place for sole operators, businesses and not-for-profit groups.
“Commerce is definitely happening, which is a key driver behind the initiative,” says Brophy. “The atmosphere within the Hub is so positive. People are re-connecting with suppliers and customers, and even doing new business with contacts they’re making.
“Some days are busier than others — but there have been times when every single office, apart from a few hot desks, has been booked. The seminar room for 40 people and two boardrooms for 10-14 people are generally solidly booked.”
Most people book temporary space for anywhere from one hour to a few weeks, with semi-permanent tenants including the Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce, Inland Revenue, the New Zealand Retailers Association, and several accountants and lawyers.
The licensed facility also has a VBase operated café and has hosted a breakfast for 200 people and a function with 400 guests.
There is growing interest using the Hub for Christmas functions and the possibility of holding trade shows is being explored.
“We’ve even been asked to host religious services on Sundays with many churches and church halls out of action. We’re starting to think about alternative uses after hours and at weekends,” Brophy says.
The bank hopes the Westpac Business & Community Hub goes some way to help Christchurch get back on its feet and looks forward to supporting business/community groups in the region with this initiative.
“Westpac has been integral to New Zealand and Canterbury for 150 years. We pride ourselves on that and on listening to our customers. The Westpac Business & Community Hub is an example of those two attributes.
“There is a very generous spirit here. We’re keeping an open mind as to how long the Westpac Business & Community Hub will remain open — but expect it to continue for as long as people need it.”
For more information visit www.estpacbusinesshub.co.nz or or call 0800 CHC HUB (0800 242 482)