DWC to launch successful Co.Starters programme in Westland and Grey

The CO.STARTERS programme is expanding to support the development of West Coast businesses in a nine-week programme to arm aspiring entrepreneurs with the skills to turn ideas into business opportunities.

Following the success of the Buller based CO.STARTERS programme, DWC has approved additional funding to roll out the programme to Grey and Westland districts. A new “Good Startups Breakthrough programme” is also being introduced to further assist entrepreneurs on the West Coast.

The “Breakthrough” programme is an online live training and coaching programme where participants can develop the tools, skills, and self-understanding required to operate at a sustainably high level of performance, leading to enhanced leadership and wellbeing for themselves and their team.

DWC will own the licences to manage the implementation and facilitation of both programmes, and will be heavily subsidising the delivery of the programmes to ensure they are accessible to all West Coast businesses. BullerREAP and WestREAP have been engaged to deliver the programmes within the region and will be looking to raise community awareness of the programmes while identifying and attracting quality facilitators and mentors from throughout the West Coast business community.

CO.STARTERS will be running a facilitator and mentor training weekend over the 19th & 20th August for prospective facilitators and mentors that would like to support the delivery of CO.STARTERS in their community.

CO.STARTERS’ cohorts are currently being planned for Westport, Hokitika & Greymouth. For those interested in exploring and developing a business idea or that would like to work on refining and growing their existing business are encouraged to list their expression of interest with DWC, Buller REAP or West REAP.

For further information contact:

Warren Gilbertson, Development West Coast, Ph: 03 769 7000

Buller REAP, Ph: 03 789 7659

West REAP, Ph:03 755 8700

(25 July 2017)


DWC to oversee delivery of Growth Study Action Plan

The Tai Poutini West Coast Growth Study Action Plan was launched today by the Ministers of Conservation, Tertiary Education and Skills and Employment.

The Growth Study Governance Group has endorsed the Action Plan which sets out 16 Priority Actions. Development West Coast will have overall responsibility for implementation and delivery of the Action Plan, working with the lead regional / central government entity for each initiative.

Trustees and staff of DWC are excited about the opportunities within the Action Plan and are looking forward to working with central government and local stakeholders to implement the 16 Priority Actions outlined in the Plan.

Among the 16 Priority Actions are recommendations to improve the overall delivery of economic development for the West Coast region. DWC CEO, Chris Mackenzie, says this will be a new era for economic development on the West Coast. “Trustees are supportive of the proposed new direction and are enthusiastic about working with the Governance Group and staff to implement the recommendations. However, Trustees also recognise that for the new structure to be successful, growing DWC’s Fund will be critical”, he says.

Following the launch of the Action Plan, DWC will lead conversations with staff and the Boards of the potentially affected organisations to discuss the recommendations made and identify the best way forward for the future. This consultation process will commence in early August.

(13 July 2017)


Renee Rooney to Chair Development West Coast

Renee Rooney, a dairy farm business owner with her husband at Inchbonnie, has been elected as the Chair of Development West Coast, succeeding John Sturgeon who finished his term with DWC on 30 June 2017.

Elected to DWC in October 2016, Renee holds various other positions at both a local and national level, including Chairperson of the Lake Brunner School Board of Trustees, Chairperson Dairy Section of Federated Farmers West Coast. She was also recently elected to the Federated Farmers National Dairy Industry Executive and is a graduate of the DWC Leadership and Governance Programme.

While still relatively new to DWC, Renee says she is committed to the region and is excited about her new role. “I see the immense potential of DWC to take our region forward. I am looking forward to the challenge of building on DWC’s successes to date. We anticipate the West Coast Regional Growth Study Action Plan, due to be launched on 13 July, to have some affect on DWC and this will be a timely opportunity for the board to review its strategy and refocus its operations”, she says.

DWC also welcomed Dame Julie Christie to the Board and attended her first meeting on 3 July. DWC is looking forward to Julie’s contribution with her board and commercial experience in many areas.

The Board also expressed their thanks to John Sturgeon for his valuable contribution to the Trust over the past seven years and wish him well in his well deserved retirement.

(3 July 2017)


Westland District organisations benefit from stimulus funding

Funding of $1m has been allocated by Development West Coast (DWC) to Westland businesses and organisations over the past six months through the District Economic Stimulus Fund (DESF).

The fund was set up in 2015 specifically to help boost West Coast businesses’ development and growth. The funds are distributed through the region’s three district councils.

Six Westland organisations and businesses have received support of varying amounts in a combination of grants and loans. That includes the Hokitika Regent Theatre which will use its funds to update its digital cinema equipment and performance lighting system, creating a significantly different theatre experience.

Westland Community Centre chairman Bruce Watson says the upgrade will enable better use of the facility, in particular making the theatre’s Reynolds Room more flexible in its use.

“It means we can run more art house films, which there is a lot of demand for in town, as well as the blockbusters. So it will enable us to give everyone the kind of movie experience they want to enjoy, and that’s great for both the locals and visitors to the town.”

DESF funding was also accessed by the West Coast Wilderness Trail to help fund a trail manager position over the next three years. This key role will ensure the popular adventure trail has a dedicated manager, as well as the funding to extend its marketing and publicity – which has the important spinoff of bringing more tourists to the West Coast to spend money in the hospitality and retail sectors.

DWC chief executive Chris Mackenzie says the benefits of the DESF go much wider than just the organisations which receive the loans or grants.

“The recent allocations to Westland businesses is an excellent example of how the funding is used to create more opportunities. There are several new jobs on the cards and an opportunity to draw even more visitors to the West Coast – that’s really a win-win for everyone. This is the very essence of DWC’s purpose.”

The DESF fund has now closed with $3 million being injected into the region through a range of grants and business loans across 22 organisations and businesses since it was launched in 2015.

To read more about funding or mentoring support services DWC offers, visit www.dwc.org.nz.

(30 May 2017)