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 A series of free digital skills workshops are being held across the West Coast this month in a collaboration between DWC, New Zealand digital innovation agency, AboutUs and social media giant Facebook to help business owners maximise their online presence and support a thriving and connected community.

The Boost Your Town workshops in Hokitika, Greymouth and Westport are the last in a series that has also been rolled out to regional towns in Northland, Taranaki, Whanganui and the Waikato.

The programme provides local business owners and community group leaders with the latest training and advice for building new connections, reaching new customers, and are designed for people new to online as well as those wanting more advanced skills.

DWC’s event manager Aaron Rees says the workshops will help build much needed digital skills on the West Coast. DWC’s recent Business Opinion Survey revealed that 27 percent of West Coast businesses view using social media as a major challenge, and 33 percent of businesses cited marketing / digital marketing as an area of training that would be useful for them.

Steve Adams, founder of AboutUs, says with the right guidance even the smallest business can capitalise on the global reach of Facebook and Instagram to elevate their online presence as well as that of their communities. He says the act of putting their towns ‘on the map’ has a tangible benefit of attracting more visitors and therefore customers.

Spencer Bailey, Head of Facebook New Zealand, says “#BoostYourTown aims to lift the capacity of regional communities to participate and thrive in the digital economy. Partnering with AboutUs means more business owners throughout New Zealand will receive hands on advice and training to sharpen their digital skills.”

West Coast businesses who already use social media to their advantage have been taking part in creating promotional videos for the upcoming Boost Your Town workshops. Last month DWC travelled the Coast with AboutUs and Nomad Audio and Video to interview and film some of those who understand the benefits digital platforms can provide, especially in a region as diverse and geographically isolated as the West Coast.

Register for these free workshops:

7 August: Hokitika 

8 August: Greymouth

9 August: Westport


The following businesses were filmed to highlight how innovative West Coast businesses are using digital technologies to reach wider markets. Click to see their videos:

video black and dane  Video Ems power   video crafty chook shantytown 
 video cerebral  videoITatwork  video gap  video epic
 video sweet alices