Focus on innovation

Steve Breen

The region is now well and truly back to work and back to business.

High sunshine hours mean strong performance continues for our primary industries. Alongside this, the surge in tourism activity also contributes to a sense of regional confidence.

This confidence is reflected in strong job opportunities across the board. However, high demand for talent has come hand-in-hand with high demand for housing and we are seeing real pressure in this area, both to rent and to purchase.

Despite the immediate challenges it presents, it’s a good problem to have overall. The market is doing its best to respond in the short term, with owners of under-utilised properties moving to prepare them and make them available.

Longer term options are of high importance, but they do take time to deliver — given the complexities of property-based solutions.

To combat this, Activate Tairawhiti is supporting Gisborne District Council to develop a spatial plan for the region. The early priority is to determine the type and scale of our housing demand and to mobilise options for addressing it. It’s another opportunity to make best use of our existing infrastructure, while maximising the social amenity of our communities.

In a broader sense, as your local economic development agency, our focus this year at Activate Tairawhiti is on supporting innovation.

For starters, the feedback from businesses is that they want to increase value-added production. This calls for more innovative uses of resources, identifying the markets which offer more value, and assisting businesses to make the shift into these markets. Coupled with the Provincial Growth Fund, the opportunities available for supported investment into higher-value production is huge.

We’re tailoring our services for the year to match the above, starting with a number of workshops run by Activate.

First up is NZTE’s Export Essentials, a two-part programme on April 3 and 17, followed by Callaghan Innovation’s Lean Workshop on May 1.

Techweek Tairawhiti (May 20-26) will also offer fantastic examples and pathways to industry innovation.

All these events will work to put as many businesses as possible in touch with expertise and resources, to help them add value to their production.

Callaghan Innovation offers significant resources to support business innovation, ranging from the Getting Started Grant and the Driving Innovation programme, to the Lean and Build for Speed Growth Grants and Student Grants. All these things enable businesses to access the latest thinking and fresh talent in science, technology, engineering, design or business — at minimal cost — and can be accessed via Activate Tairawhiti.

Alongside this support is the Business Mentors NZ programme, capability voucher funding, and direct support from Eastland Community Trust, through the Economic Investigation and Research Fund and the Economic Growth Fund — again, all accessible through us.

In other news, Launch! Coworking continues to grow and provide more small businesses, start-ups and entrepreneurs with a collaborative skill-sharing space. Less than a year into its inception, we are already seeing some amazing success stories and results come out of Launch!, which is really encouraging for our region’s start-up and tech sector.

For more information or to access Activate Tairawhiti’s services, call me on 027 3629 149, or AT business growth adviser Wendy Gatley on 021 312 463.

  • Steve Breen is the general manager of regional economic development agency Activate Tairawhiti.

The region is now well and truly back to work and back to business.

High sunshine hours mean strong performance continues for our primary industries. Alongside this, the surge in tourism activity also contributes to a sense of regional confidence.

This confidence is reflected in strong job opportunities across the board. However, high demand for talent has come hand-in-hand with high demand for housing and we are seeing real pressure in this area, both to rent and to purchase.

Despite the immediate challenges it presents, it’s a good problem to have overall. The market is doing its best to respond in the short term, with owners of under-utilised properties moving to prepare them and make them available.

Longer term options are of high importance, but they do take time to deliver — given the complexities of property-based solutions.

To combat this, Activate Tairawhiti is supporting Gisborne District Council to develop a spatial plan for the region. The early priority is to determine the type and scale of our housing demand and to mobilise options for addressing it. It’s another opportunity to make best use of our existing infrastructure, while maximising the social amenity of our communities.

In a broader sense, as your local economic development agency, our focus this year at Activate Tairawhiti is on supporting innovation.

For starters, the feedback from businesses is that they want to increase value-added production. This calls for more innovative uses of resources, identifying the markets which offer more value, and assisting businesses to make the shift into these markets. Coupled with the Provincial Growth Fund, the opportunities available for supported investment into higher-value production is huge.

We’re tailoring our services for the year to match the above, starting with a number of workshops run by Activate.

First up is NZTE’s Export Essentials, a two-part programme on April 3 and 17, followed by Callaghan Innovation’s Lean Workshop on May 1.

Techweek Tairawhiti (May 20-26) will also offer fantastic examples and pathways to industry innovation.

All these events will work to put as many businesses as possible in touch with expertise and resources, to help them add value to their production.

Callaghan Innovation offers significant resources to support business innovation, ranging from the Getting Started Grant and the Driving Innovation programme, to the Lean and Build for Speed Growth Grants and Student Grants. All these things enable businesses to access the latest thinking and fresh talent in science, technology, engineering, design or business — at minimal cost — and can be accessed via Activate Tairawhiti.

Alongside this support is the Business Mentors NZ programme, capability voucher funding, and direct support from Eastland Community Trust, through the Economic Investigation and Research Fund and the Economic Growth Fund — again, all accessible through us.

In other news, Launch! Coworking continues to grow and provide more small businesses, start-ups and entrepreneurs with a collaborative skill-sharing space. Less than a year into its inception, we are already seeing some amazing success stories and results come out of Launch!, which is really encouraging for our region’s start-up and tech sector.

For more information or to access Activate Tairawhiti’s services, call me on 027 3629 149, or AT business growth adviser Wendy Gatley on 021 312 463.

  • Steve Breen is the general manager of regional economic development agency Activate Tairawhiti.
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