New businesses need pandemic support - coffee company

2:42 pm on 26 April 2021

A new entrepreneur struggling to get traction for his coffee business during the pandemic says those taking a risk on new ventures need extra support from the government.

No caption

Photo: 123rf

Wairarapa-based business Bean Merchant uses a computer algorithm to figure out which coffee suits each customer after they complete an online quiz on their tastes and habits.

Its founder Jono Broom believes the business is unique in Australasia.

Broom was a teacher when he started on the business idea, and subsequently put all his energy into Bean Merchant.

But he had to pause the company's first trial during the four-week nationwide lockdown last year.

Jono Broom of Bean Merchant enjoys a cuppa with his partner Maddie Hullena.

Jono Broom of Bean Merchant enjoys a cuppa with his partner Maddie Hullena. Photo: Supplied/ Bean Merchant

He said business has been tough due to Covid-19, and right now, Bean Merchant doesn't turn a profit.

Broom said providing government support to businesses starting up during the pandemic was important to the New Zealand economy.

"I think a lot of support has gone into those businesses who are already established and who have lost income over lockdown, which is good [and] it's important.

"But it's also important to have those fresh businesses come in, and we would have loved some support."

Broom said his business idea came to fruition following a project at the school he taught at.

"Our school had this initiative where where we could do some time each week working on our own project for modelling in front of students," he said.

The business began to grow from there.

Broom said it was tough for all-new businesses starting out, regardless of the circumstances. But he said his business' development phase had gone for much longer than expected, which contributed to the tough situation.

"We'd love for it to pick up more, we think we have a really good idea," Broom said.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs