News and events

COVID-19 recovery and support

open this image in new window: COVID-19 Callaghan Innovation

This article was published on 10 June 2020

As we move into the COVID-19 recovery phase, here is a central reference point for new and ongoing support measures that may be of help to your business

R&D support

R&D Loan Scheme

Businesses with R&D funding impacted by the economic effects of COVID-19 are able to apply for an R&D loan of up to $400,000 under Callaghan Innovation’s new R&D Loan Scheme. The Government has dedicated $150 million for the scheme, which will help R&D-performing businesses continue their high-value R&D activities through the COVID-19 recovery. The loans are for up to $400,000, depending on planned R&D spend and other Government R&D support, and will be interest-free if repaid within the first year. Information will be made available via Callaghan Innovation’s R&D Loan webpage.

Updated R&D Tax Incentive (RDTI) support

New RDTI refundability changes have been introduced to provide extra cashflow support to R&D-performing businesses. More loss-making businesses now qualify to have their 15% R&D tax credit refunded in cash. For further information, contact your Callaghan Innovation relationship manager or visit the RDTI Hub website.

R&D grants - new relief measures

We’ve introduced a number of relief options for customers with Callaghan Innovation R&D grants and repayable loans, including flexibility with contract terms, R&D staff and claiming. If you have any concerns about your R&D grant or Tech Incubator Startup Repayable Loan, please contact your Callaghan Innovation relationship manager, who can run through your options. We will continue to prioritise keeping R&D grants payments on schedule.

Cash flow support

Wage Subsidy Extension

From 10 June until 1 September 2020 businesses will be able to apply for the Wage Subsidy Extension if they meet the eligibility criteria. This replaces the original Wage Subsidy Scheme.

Some criteria have changed. For example, businesses must now be able to show a 40% drop in revenue for a 30-day period in the 40 days before they apply.Pre-revenue businesses must be able to show a 40% projected drop in funding or income from capital, and they must be performing R&D. 

Callaghan Innovation can help pre-revenue companies determine if they meet the R&D criteria for the Wage Subsidy Extension. To get started please complete this form and we will be in touch. 

All Wage Subsidy Extension applications are made through Work and Income NZ.

Other cashflow support

Other Callaghan Innovation support & initiatives

COVID-19 customer impact survey insights

In mid-May, as New Zealand entered Alert Level 2, Callaghan Innovation undertook a second customer impact survey to gauge the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

This survey followed an initial survey of customers completed in early April when the country was in Alert Level 4. The second survey showed increased optimism due to an ease in lockdown restrictions and additional financial support, such as the wage subsidy. But also underlined a need for ongoing support, particularly among smaller, low and pre-revenue businesses. 

These surveys help Callaghan Innovation assess the needs of businesses in different stages of COVID-19 recovery, to help us advocate on behalf of business and ensure support initiatives are meeting the current needs.

A third customer impact survey is planned for mid-July 2020.

Connect to the COVID-19 response

Almost 200 businesses on our networking platform, Scale-Up NZ, now feature a “coronavirus” tag, identifying them as having COVID-19 response capability. Businesses can also connect with potential investors and organisations that provide innovation skills training, to help with changing business models.

Regional Business Partner Network support 

Callaghan Innovation and NZTE’s Regional Business Partner Network (RBP) continues to provide support for NZ businesses. RBP Growth Advisors can discuss your business needs, including helping you access support for: management capability development, R&D projects, business mentoring services, making connections, and local and Government business services. RBPs are now offering a series of webinars on topics including: retention and redeployment, pivoting your business, building stronger leadership and teams, business continuity and growth, and wellbeing and mental health. You can download many of these webinars for free, find out more and download the webinars on’s Kiwi Business Boost platform. Visit the RBP COVID-19 page for information on how to access services.

Innovation Skills programmes

To help businesses come out of this crisis stronger, in addition to our current Innovation Skills programmes, we are looking at scoping, developing and/or piloting new programmes to address capability gaps in product development and product-market fit. Updates on upcoming programmes and workshops will be available on the News and Events page.

Our current Innovation Skills programmes that can help businesses accelerate or pivot are:

Find out more

There are a number of government websites that have useful information about economic recovery activity and how to access it.

  • For updates on COVID-19 economic recovery activity and support information visit the Government’s new UNITE FOR RECOVERY WEBSITE.

  • also provides information on COVID-19 support specific for NZ, and The Kiwi Business Boost helps with business information and support, including COVID-19 guidance, tailored to your business needs.

  • ATEED’s Digital Assessment Tool will help you identify your website, marketing and people & digital needs, and understand the path to digital success.

  •, Chambers of Commerce, RBPs and other local support agencies are running a series of webinars for businesses. 

Events update

Some of our events have been moved online as part of the response to COVID-19. For all Callaghan Innovation and industry events updates please visit the COVID-19 events updates page.