Chief Executive Report
Last year DWC conducted a business opinion survey with the majority of respondents expressing optimism about the economy for the coming year. Data from our recently published Economic Update reveals this optimism was not unfounded. After a prolonged period of decline there are signs the economy is starting to recover. Exciting things are happening on the Coast.
As an organisation, DWC is working with local businesses and stakeholders to leverage this optimism for the success and prosperity of the region.
At an operational level, 2018/2019 has been a year of significant change for DWC. Based on recommendations originally presented in the 2017 West Coast Economic Development Action Plan, organisational changes have been implemented to ensure a more coordinated delivery of economic development on the West Coast.
The change saw the functions of Tourism West Coast merged into DWC. Minerals West Coast's project manager, MBIE’s principal regional advisor and an independent consultant also now share office space at DWC. Having this wealth of knowledge and skills working in the same building provides a unified way forward for the region.
Over the past year, DWC approved over 80 percent of commercial loan applications received, seeing $2.23m distributed to business and industry across the region.
While the financial markets remain volatile, DWC’s growth (or equity) investments returned 10.5 percent for the year. The 2018/2019 financial year sees DWC parent with total assets of $137.2m and total income for the year of $5.4m (excluding unrealised revenue). Our total operating expenses were $2.5m and DWC also invested $1.9m in community distributions and projects. The year ended with a net profit of $5.4m - ensuring DWC’s ability to continue investing in the region.
DWC's direct investment into the West Coast economy has now reached $153.9m while still maintaining the Fund at $128.4m - all from an initial fund of $92m. It is important that we maintain the real value of the Fund to ensure future generations on the Coast can benefit from continued distributions into the economy.
The true worth of DWC to the West Coast goes far beyond these investments into the economy. DWC staff are working with a record number of local businesses to build capability, as well as helping them leverage other capital and business opportunities.
To make business support services accessible for all Coasters, our three business development managers travel from Karamea to Haast to meet local businesses and find out what we can do to help them.
We host regular business trainings, workshops and seminars that are targeted at the needs of local businesses. The past year has seen a significant rise in engagement with 1,179 attendees at DWC business events. In addition to building capabilities and knowledge, these events provide valuable networking opportunities for our business community.
DWC also continues to play a key role in funding regional development projects aimed at boosting industries and promoting the West Coast. Over $450,000 was invested in such projects this year.
Supporting regional growth is not something we are doing alone. The Government has shown optimism in the region by pledging over $130m through the Provincial Growth Fund for projects that reflect the priorities of the Tai Poutini West Coast Economic Development Strategy (2018-2025).
Optimism in the region is also being reflected in the national media. A recent edition of NZBusiness Magazine featured a cover story on innovative West Coast businesses titled ‘Coastal confidence: how technology is building West Coast businesses’.
Alongside the region’s leaders and businesses, we look forward to building on this optimism and pushing ahead to create a prosperous future for the West Coast.
I want to acknowledge the guidance and expertise provided by the Trustees, the Advisory Body for their valuable advice, and my colleagues at DWC who have ensured this was a productive year for both the organisation and the region.
Download the full Annual Report (PDF 5MB)
DWC year comparisions
Actively managed clients
2018/2019: circa 140
2017/2018: circa 70
Commercial loans approved
Attendees at DWC business events, workshops and trainings
Businesses matched with BMNZ mentors