A significant injection from the Government’s Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) will create new opportunities in transport and tourism across the West Coast and underpins the direction of the Development West Coast 2018-25 Strategy.

The funding was announced at a recent DWC luncheon by Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones, alongside his colleagues, Rural Communities Minister and West Coast-Tasman MP Damien O’Connor, and Under-Secretary Fletcher Tabuteau.

Over $600,000 has been allocated for four feasibility studies in transport and tourism which look set to boost employment opportunities throughout the region. The specific programmes include the viability of upgrades to Westport and Greymouth ports, developing a master plan for Greymouth to rejuvenate the town, and assisting KiwiRail to explore the viability of a scenic train service between Westport and Hokitika.

DWC chief executive Chris Mackenzie applauds the Government for their commitment to supporting the regions through the Provincial Growth Fund initiative.

“We have such a diverse and vast region, but by investigating the opportunities for growth in the rail and shipping sectors, we can connect all Coasters. If we have financial support to develop and grow our infrastructure we can leverage those opportunities to create new industry and business,” Mr Mackenzie says.

“This is a very positive endorsement of our region and we look forward to working with the Government as it moves these projects forward.”

epic about us banner

 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      



Business development programme Co.Starters is proving very popular across the West Coast with a course currently underway in Westport, one starting in Hokitika on September 4, and demand creating the need for a second Westport programme later in September.

Co.Starters is a nine-week programme which helps participants find the best approach to starting and growing a business. Costing just $250, the course helps people to collaborate with like-minded entrepreneurs and equips them with the insights, relationships, and tools needed to turn business ideas into sustainable and thriving endeavours.

For more information on the Co.Starters programme go to www.dwc.org.nz/Business/co-starters.html

Co. Starters

Leading Light

Entries are now open for the 6th Development West Coast Leading Light Business Excellence Awards, in which the successes of local businesses and industry leaders are celebrated by their peers.

The glittering awards night is a highlight on the annual calendar, featuring the achievements of businesses across a range of categories covering the largest to the smallest organisations.

This year entrants will be invited to a workshop on August 15 to help formulate and execute their entries. Run by Stephen Caunter of ANZ, the workshop is a great way to help prepare an effective business plan and to gain an understanding of what the judges will be looking for. (click here to register for entrant workshop)

Entries are open now and close on August 27, with the gala event being held at Shantytown on October 26 with TVNZ’s Peter Williams as the emcee, and internationally renowned thought leader Graham Dockrill as the guest speaker. For all the information and entry details go to www.leadinglight.org.nz

Large Enterprise Award Duncan Cotterill
Medium Enterprise Award Crombie Lockwood
Small Enterprise Award NZME
Tourism and Hospitality Award Christchurch International Airport
Not for Profit Award  Westland Milk Products
Workplace Safety Award ACC
Environment Award Department of Conservation
Rising Star Award Greymouth Star
Supreme Award Development West Coast

Shining the spotlight
2016 Leading Light Supreme Award Winner

“Participating and being recognised in the Leading Light Awards provided a wonderful opportunity to pause and reflect on where we have come from and to momentarily celebrate that journey. Ultimately though, it was the chance to see and hear about the long list of other amazing West Coast endeavours that provided the greatest highlight. That alone provided inspiration to reach for new heights.”

Phil Rossiter | Mokihinui-Lyell Backcountry Trust - The Old Ghost Road Project


Click here for more details about the Awards 


Entry Conditions & Guideliness Entry form Workshop RSVP 2018 Leading Light Brochure

Taking Care of Business 2018 is a series of free government events giving business owners the chance to talk directly to the agencies they deal with on a day-to-day basis. Come along and learn how your business can grow and thrive and hear advice on health and safety, tax or ACC and much more.

As a small business owner or operator, you probably spend a lot of time working with government agencies – whether it’s on compliance, tax, or trade and innovation. The government is working to make things easier for you, so you can spend less time on compliance and more time on your business.

As part of their drive to help small businesses be more efficient, the government is putting on a series of roadshow events throughout the country.

At these events you will hear from Stuart Nash, the Minister for Small Business, about the Government’s vision for small business in New Zealand. You will learn about the experiences of local business owners using the Regional Business Partner Network and the impact it hashad on their business. You will get information from government agencies like Inland Revenue, ACC, and Employment New Zealand about government support available for businesses, and new legislation and how to comply.

DWC will be attending the event on Friday 31 August at the Pulse Energy Centre in Westport. You can find out first-hand about the range of government support services available to you to help your small business.

Register: www.business.govt.nz

Taking care of Business