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August 20, 2020

SOS Business, a lockdown success story

New Zealanders have a strong affinity with their local communities and the local businesses in them. Many Kiwi businesses were at major risk following the COVID-19 pandemic. Ordinarily we wouldn’t bat an eyelid at picking up a coffee or grabbing takeaways. When the doors closed following lockdown, many businesses needed another outlet to keep their business ticking over.

Drawing on the entrepreneurial mindset, gutsy determination and just wanting to do the right thing, David, Joyce and Naadei (David Downs, Joyce Quah and Naadei Atafu) quickly developed an online platform, SOS Business, so that the team of 5 million could help their favourite local café’s and businesses to survive. Connection is everything, so this platform helped local businesses by selling vouchers online to be redeemed in person at a later date. This really appealed to so many loyal New Zealanders. To date 2,500 businesses have signed up as members and voucher sales exceed $2m.

SOS Business team (L-R: David Downs, Naadei Atafu & Joyce Quah)

As a not for profit company, SOS Business was born from a passion and drive to give back. After easing out of lockdown #1, David and his partners continued their commitment (all in their spare time) to the platform but needed to step aside to return to their day jobs as restrictions lifted. It was at this point, founder, David Downs, sought the interest of potential investors.

Preserving the SOS Business brand and maintaining his involvement in an advisory capacity, David has just completed the deal with US based company, InKind. Founded by restaurateur, Johann Moonesingh, InKind was developed and built as a solution to reward customer loyalty. As a small business themselves, InKind has a genuine interest in the SME market which is integral to their mission and ethos. Recognising the strong support for SME’s in New Zealand as well as the Kiwi culture made for a perfect fit.

A deal was done to make sure that what matters to many New Zealander (their local business) are supported in the best way possible. Hopefully this is a match made in heaven – local business getting innovative new ways to access funds,  a team of 5 million that can continue to support their favourite local business and a new platform that is focused on giving back to the community.

HGM was thrilled to be able to help David with this deal and ensure the culmination of hard work and great vision be able to continue even after the founders return to their day jobs.

This article was co-authored with Toby Cartwright.

Image credit: David Downs / SOS Business

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