What we do

The Marlborough Business trust is an independent, non-profit organisation which provides business development services including...

  • business coaching
  • business mentoring
  • business training
  • business resources
  • business networking

Business Trust Marlborough is here to assist businesses of all types - startups as well as existing businesses.

We offer free, confidential advice and guidance on any aspect of your business, or your business idea. Our well-qualified Client Advisor will provide information and advice to help your business succeed.

So, whether you are wanting to start a business or to grow your business, remember that you do NOT have to go it alone. Support is available.

Located in the CBD at Level 2, 3 Main Street Blenheim (in with Lifetime - above Rebel Sports), this service is backed by a diverse range of experienced local business people, appointed as Trustees, who all want to see Marlborough businesses thrive.

Meet the team

Brian Dawson - Manager / Client Advisor

Manager and Client Advisor Brian Dawson welcomes the opportunity to meet with local business owners and anyone with a business idea they’d like to explore. 

Brian and his wife Tricia have owned and operated their own business for the past 14 years. Brian is also a former General Manager of the Marlborough Chamber of Commerce and a District Councillor.  

A very important part of the service Brian provides is matching businesses with local volunteer business mentors through Business Mentors NZ and supporting both mentors and clients through out these relationships. As a result he has seen first hand the benefits to both clients and the extended Marlborough community of a successful business mentor client relationship and is passionate about helping people and their businesses succeed. 

Brendon Burns - Chair

Brendon Burns works across the private and public sectors providing strategic communications and community engagement advice. As editor of The Marlborough Express for seven years, he led various community initiatives and won the country's top journalism award - a term at Cambridge University. He previously worked for 12 years in the Parliamentary Press Gallery. Brendon also served as MP for Christchurch Central seat from 2008 - 2011 before returning to Marlborough. As Chair of Business Trust Marlborough he continues to be active in supporting sustainable economic development and sees small businesses as the building blocks of any region's economy - especially in Marlborough as there are not as many big players. He is aware that getting a small business started or refocused is no easy task but believes that the mentors which businesses can access through Business Trust Marlborough provide invaluable, almost free support and advice and are helping Marlborough to grow. Brendon also chairs the Smart+Connected Aquaculture steering group.

Sue Avery - Deputy Chair

Sue holds a BCom from the University of Canterbury and qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 2005 working as a Senior Tax Consultant in Christchurch before moving to Marlborough.  Having previously been a small business owner, she understands the many demands on those who own or manage a small business and the value in seeking an objective, outside perspective on business matters.   

John Baird - Trustee

John Baird is a former Managing Director/CEO of several major consumer products businesses. He has a strong marketing background with strengths in performance improvement, business development, planning, marketing, operations, and governance.

John is a current director of South Island Forklifts, a Member of the Waitangi Tribunal and its Governance Group and a Member of the Institute of Directors. He has served as chair and director on a number of boards and was also a VSA Community Development Volunteer in East Malaysia.

John’s qualifications include BSc. Maths, Statistics (Otago University, NZ), Rhodes Scholar, MA. Engineering (Hons) (Oxford University, UK), Diploma of Marketing (Institute of Marketing, UK), BA. Maori Studies (Auckland University).

As a Trustee of Business Trust Marlborough he supports the Trust’s vision to assist start up and existing businesses in Marlborough through the provision of business development support and advice and, in particular, through provision of mentors who bring focus to critical factors - the idea, the product, the customer, the business model, the team, the timing and, most importantly, the funding and cash flow.  John is a Business Mentor with Business Mentors New Zealand, assisting in providing this support.

Beth Barnes - Trustee

Beth owns her own business, Button Help, which focuses on training and assisting businesses to become the best and most efficient they can be. This includes one-on-one training on Social Media and Technology Tools as well as resource creation (creating documentation) for business owners who would rather work in their business than on their business. With a varied background from large organisations to small, Beth brings common sense and a fresh viewpoint for the businesses she works, assisting them in getting systems and strategies in place to help them move forward.

As well as running her business Beth is active in the community, being on Boards and Committees for Volunteer Marlborough, Selmes Garden Trust, Hospice Marlborough as well as Business Trust Marlborough. She is the organiser of a monthly business ladies breakfast called The Network Room and is a business mentor.

In her free time Beth loves to spend time with her husband, enjoying the amazing food and wine from this region (both cooking and eating!), as well as being a keen scrapbooker, mixed media artist and sewer - she always has a project or two on the go and loves to share these passions with other people.

Graham Gosling - Trustee

Graham Gosling has very strong connections with local Marlborough businesses, having owned a variety of Marlborough businesses including a cherry orchard, service stations and a motel complex. He was instrumental in setting up and supporting the Picton Business Support Group which provides networking and information sharing opportunities and a voice for Picton Business. He is also a life member of the Marlborough Car Club. He spent 3 years on the national MTA Service Station Committee and over 4 years as Chairman of Endeavour Park Pavilion Society overseeing this project from set up to completion.

Graham’s first venture into business started while he was still at College when he grew garlic on his grandmother property for sale. During his career he has worked as a Purchasing and Sales Manager at Stresscrete, before getting back into being a business owner by purchasing Springlands Service Station. He later also owned and operated a service station in Picton and a cherry orchard. More recently he owned Harbour View Motel in Picton which he completely refurbished.

Graham believes that, in business, honesty and integrity are extremely important. He was motivated to become a Trustee for Business Trust Marlborough as he saw it as a way to assist new business owners, who may have a great idea, but not the necessary knowledge or experience to successfully implement it. He feels that access to the right information is paramount to the survival of these businesses and that Business Trust Marlborough is the key to providing this.


Our Vision

Business Trust Marlborough's core purpose is to empower small to medium Marlborough businesses to start up, grow and thrive. Our Trustees and delivery Team are passionate about both Marlborough and it's economic development.

This passion is reflected in the Trust's Strategic Plan.