When COVID-19 hit, the resultant lockdown affected everyone, suddenly most of us were forced to stay at home as schools and businesses had to close their doors. As the world adopted virtual online meetings, our club also quickly adapted to this new digital world and began meeting by ZOOM. In April 2020 we asked ourselves, where might Rotary be able to provide effective help? Broader discussions between Rototuna Rotary and Te Waka (Waikato Economic Development Agency) identified that a lot of businesses, especially small businesses, were experiencing a very hard time coping with the impact of the lockdown. There was a pressing and growing need during and post COVID-19 lockdown to assist Waikato companies through their economic recovery.
With the growing volume of requests for support from Business Mentors NZ (BMNZ), how about expanding the capacity of the mentor network by calling on Rotary Members, many of whom have years of business experience, to work with those small business owners who could benefit from support and encouragement through the lockdown period and its aftermath? To be delivered as additional to and complementary to the Business Mentor NZ (BMNZ) scheme, a word in the ear of the Rotary District 9930 Governor was enough, and a trial of Rotary mentors was given the green light. Piloted in May 2020 by Rototuna Rotary Members, the programme is now being rolled out for wider application where required.