A guide to startup support packages during COVID-19 outbreak


Startup Grind New Plymouth City, New Zealand, 2019

As COVID-19 spreads in at least 180 countries, and the death toll climbs to  60,000, it is worth reminding one another to follow guidance from governments and leading health organisations such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC).  

Startups are concerned about the increasing economic uncertainty as a result of a pandemic. While it is difficult to predict the financial impact globally and what sectors will face the biggest hit and slowest recovery, surviving at this time is crucial (link to another resource). 

Here is a summary of support packages that startups can explore and access to help cushion the impact and drive business continuity: 

Government Support Packages  

Entrepreneurs across the globe are looking at their respective governments to provide financial support and to implement measures to help ease the impact. The New Zealand Government has designed a set of measures and packages to support businesses affected by the COVID-19. Here’s a list of all business-related initiatives relevant to startups;

Grants and help for new businesses

Wage Subsidy Scheme

Business Finance Guarantee

Insolvency Relief for businesses

Regional Business Partner Support

Export Support

Tax Relief

Private sector support for entrepreneurs 

Private enterprises are stepping up to the plate to help businesses. Companies such as Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Zoom have support packages. We have lifted all announces packages and will continue to update this list as new packages are announced;

Facebook Small Business Grant Programme

Google Small Business Support Package 

Microsoft Supporting Small Businesses

Slack is offering its paid plan for free for three months

Zoom supporting businesses during COVID-19

Y Combinator COVID-19 Accelerator Programme

Global initiatives created amid COVI-19 crisis

We are continually monitoring global initiatives and have found a few that are worthwhile to share with our startup community. Supports are being made available to startups that are fighting this health crisis. The startup ecosystem has come together to help healthcare workers on the frontline of the COVID-19 outbreak. Here are a few we have listed; 

Algorithms robustly suggesting treatment options

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome and Mastercard’s $125m Therapeutics Accelerator

Sam Altman funding for COVID-19 projects

Public Health Startup Fellowship Programme

AI for Good Innovation Factory

Innovate UK Programme is investing £20 in innovative projects

TNB Aura Special Situations Fund

Ontario Together Fund

The Coronavirus Hackathon

Fighting the COVID-19 is still in its early stages around the world and hence, we will see more startup-based programmes emerging. We will continue to update this page as we hear the new programme. Our Innovation Platform, Johnson Labs, is looking into setting up a startup accelerator programme – investors are welcome to reach out.