Around 50 members of the West Coast business community got together for the final DWC breakfast of the year. The group enjoyed delicious local produce provided by the GAP café in Greymouth, and thought-provoking talks by Katie Milne, Andrew Robb and Mike Newcombe.
Federated Farmers National President Katie Milne.
CO. STARTERS Graduation
CO.STARTERS participant Vince Best signing about his back up plan, with help from Layla Dowthwaite.
CO.STARTERS SPOTLIGHT: FunGal Limited
The CO.STARTERS participant Flow In took home the award for the best presentation, as well as the prize for the most accomplished participant. Flow is the mastermind behind FunGal Limited, a small, home grown business, which grows gourmet mushrooms. FunGal collects unwanted coffee grounds from local cafes, and through hard work and love, turns it into the most delicious oyster and shiitake mushrooms.
Flow said "I've been experimenting with growing these mushrooms for nearly two years now, and I had a feeling that other people might enjoy them too, but it wasn't until I joined the DWC CO.STARTERS course that I was able to take the idea from a hobby to a viable business model.”
Are you a food producer, distributor, café or restaurant owner that has an interest in being able to use and promote local food?
One of the projects from the West Coast Economic Development Action plan involves exploring the social enterprise approach to business across the region. This project is being led by the Akina Foundation and their initial focus is on developing a food cluster, or collective, in Karamea to produce, add value, market and distribute locally grown food while supporting local employment, tourism and environmental initiatives.
Background research is underway with the aim of identifying all interested parties, both at the supply level and the ‘market users’ end.
The Pitch Hokitika
The DWC Pitch business networking event was held in Hokitika on December 6, highlighting some of the region’s inspiring new businesses.
Thirteen presenters gave quick-fire four minutes pitches about their businesses before enjoying a networking session and an amazing meal courtesy of the Regent Theatre Café and Fresh
Vibe West Coast.
The evening was emceed by Mayor Bruce Smith and the night ended with a vote for the best pitch, which was won by Andrea Rogers (aka the Crafty Chook). She took home a
promotional video courtesy of Weka Films, printing vouchers from Printing.com West Coast and an advertisement in the Hokitika Guardian.
Meet some of the Pitchers!
|The Crafty Chook||Fresh Vibe West Coast||Toes by Jennie|
The Crafy Chook is a family owned
Fresh Vibe is a collaboration between two
Toes, is an in-home nail service, based
"Plan B is for Butterfly House
The Butterfly House aims to provide a new level of accommodation for older people on the West Coast by helping maintain independence, while providing avenues for companionship. Butterfly House operator Terry Gee will invite five people to come live in private bedsits that are attached to her home in the paradise setting of Hokitika.
One of New Zealand’s largest eggplant operations is going from strength to strength in Harihari and is proving the value of working with DWC.
Westland Produce was one of many businesses receiving financial support through the District Economic Stimulus Fund, which was set up in August 2015 in response to the economic challenges facing the West Coast region. Businesses applied for funding via the three West Coast district councils, which each have up to $1m to distribute. The fund closed this year after assisting 15 projects in Buller, 2 in Grey and 6 in Westland.
Westland Produce is one of those which has worked hard to capitalise on the initial support and is seeing significant success. The small company now employs seven full time staff, and works with a Christchurch company to distribute its harvest.
DWC chief executive Chris Mackenzie says he has been watching the positive publicity about Westland Produce recently and is glad to see the benefits of the funding in action. “Being able to help and support a business while it finds its own feet was the point of this fund and I am always pleased to see business owners use a boost but then take the ball and really run with it to make their own success.”