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Fortnight in Review 6 - 17 May

Programme Management Team -Regional Engagement Activities

* Planning underway for the creation of a Wairarapa Angels Club, to be established this year to provide opportunities for businesses and social initiatives to connect with high net worth individuals for investment. Information evening being held on 19 June - RSVP here

*Working with entrepreneurs to progress business plans and funding options for emerging projects: An online database for remote working opportunities, a complimentary healthcare Trust and CNC technologies.

* Discussion with a team from Rangitane about a potential creative co-working space in Masterton

* Time in WREDA's Wellington office to meet with Creative HQ and discuss data that we could utilize in our planning, that the WREDA team have access to.

*Discussion with MD of Infometrics about data we could access for projects - with the aim of creating a dashboard of relevant data for our business operators.

*Working with the Ministry for Primary Industries and a local entrepreneur to advance a project funding application in the alternative protein industry.

*Spoke at the Wairarapa Gateway Business Group meeting in Featherston to update the Featherston business community on how the Wairarapa Economic Development Strategy affects them and their businesses and how they can engage and participate.

*Members of the WEDS Governance and Steering Committee's attended Federated Farmer's post-AGM presentations on the future of primary industry skills development and training.

Knowledge Intensive Action Group

The Knowledge Intensive Action Group met Wednesday 8 May. Their current focus is grass roots capability building and the group are throwing their weight behind any initiatives that are underway to support councils, schools and business. Group representatives are engaging with Kuranui and Greytown schools on the concept of 'innovation', what it looks like in the Wairarapa, and the skills and attitudes that innovative people need.

The group discussed ways to make the WellingtonNZ (WREDA) tool kit more accessible and relevant to local business in the Wairarapa. Current offerings include:

*Business Accelerator (start-ups) and Incubation (any stage) Programmes

*Regional Business Partners programme

*Business Mentors NZ

*Business Growth & Management Capability

*Business Gov NZ

The group also explored how to leverage local initiatives such as the Wairarapa Women in Business Network, the Business Activists Mentoring Programme and the Young Professionals Facebook Group. Watch this space for more information on these, and plans to increase business capability in the region as part of WEDS.

The group are currently drafting Business Capability Framework for the Wairarapa, that identifies how to leverage current initiatives at a local level, and how to fill gaps identified, such as Business Mentors and Programme Managers with regional knowledge and local presence.

Food Action Group

The Food Action Group met Thursday 9 May. The current focus of the group is to develop a Business Case for a Wairarapa based Food Hub and Business Accelerator Programme for emerging start-ups and established business.

The vision for the Food Hub is to provide a place where those in the industry can go to physically meet and gain information about what is happening to increase business confidence. A Wairarapa Business Accelerator Programme can provide a fixed term, intensive environment for start-ups and businesses to create a “step change” uplift in capability, scale or value creation. Acceleration is best suited for businesses at the initial stage of development or with a specific high growth opportunity in mind (e.g. an entirely new product or service). A complimentary proposal is also underway to establish a Wairarapa Incubation Programme that is suited to help businesses at any stage of development, e.g. entrepreneurs, start-ups, small medium enterprises and small business.

The Food Action Group are also forming a trust to manage and optimise the food and beverage related assets developed for the benefit of the Wairarapa. The group is currently developing the purpose statement for the trust, an appropriate trustee appointment process and obtaining legal advice on set up.

Tourism Action Group

The Tourism Action Group met Thursday 16 May. The group is supporting the development of a Visitor Accommodation Plan, led by Destination Wairarapa, to identify gaps and opportunities and ultimately assess the feasibility of attracting new accommodation providers to the area.

The group is also currently identifying resource to build a master plan for the Five Towns Trail, and is scoping a food tourism event in Wairarapa that strengthens the integration of food, creativity, tourism and technology.

Steering Group Meeting

The Steering Group met on 17th May and approved the Business Incubator PGF application to be submitted, and requested a letter of support from the Governance Group. The project is to create a business incubator for all types of businesses, run by CreativeHQ for an 18 month period - upskilling and supporting those entrepreneurs to build a sustainable business, increase hires and attract investment. An update from Greater Wellington Regional Council on the 1 Billion Trees programme was received, with the news that discussion documents and workshops will be held with the community in mid-June on how to apply to the fund.

Other Activities

The Governance Group confirmed their support for the Star Field Tours Ltd application to the Provincial Growth fund and provided a letter of support to the applicant. The project will extend an existing star gazing tourist operation to capitalize on the increase in tourism expected as part of our region's upcoming Dark Sky Reserve accreditation.

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