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And we’re back!

Just like that it’s 2021 and we’re back at work.

Blink. Right?!

But we’re excited.

Last year saw our local community rally together in a bunch of new ways and we’re better and stronger for it.

As it happens Xero agrees, stating “being part of a community has a very real commercial benefit that can’t even be broken by a pandemic”.

The local pivots and innovations that 2020 delivered or inspired are worth celebrating.

Things like Pen-y-bryn’s two Jameses’ own-price’ strategy last May. Brilliant and the frontrunner for elevating Oamaru in the minds of Kiwi travellers – thanks guys!

Things like Anvil Engineers’ foot-operated hand sanitising station that made us all that bit safer and made the national news. Go Hayes family!

Things like Jane Thompson and Helen Riley-Duddin’s inspired Meet the Maker fundraiser which showcased incredible local talent (some of whom sold a year’s worth of work in one day), instilled massive local pride and raised a wadge of cash for Fenwick School. Take a bow, guys – you’ve shown us the future!

As 2020 closed, we saw the launch of new local businesses – hospitality retail, manufacturing, trades, importing, health and wellbeing, professional services and more – all businesses being built by people boldly investing in their futures and our collective economy.

Congratulations and thank you, every one!

We also saw profound bravery in those who closed their businesses. You worked every bit as hard as the rest of us. Thank you for your service and your effort.

You got beaten in the ring that was 2020 but you’re not out for the count. Stand tall. There will be new bouts and you will win again.

Looking forward, Xero tells us that small business trends for 2021 include: more remote working, more online sales, more workplace flexibility, more pivots and more small business tech. These are things The Business Hive can help support and we’ll keep working hard to help keep local businesses thriving.

Expect some new offerings. Stay in touch and watch this space.

On a personal note, I was humbled by being named a Waitakian of the Year for 2020.

I have a lot of support that enables me to get involved in things that matter to me and am grateful beyond words especially for the guy who makes it possible – Alex Regtien.

Welcome to 2021! Let’s get cracking.

  • Cara Tipping Smith is a director of The Business Hive, a co-working space in Oamaru’s Ribble St.