Welcome mat out for more West Coast businesses
Development West Coast CEO Heath Milne says the region is “open for business”, and there’re good, solid reasons for setting up a business there. There’s been a steady increase in small businesses setting up in the region over the past two to three years, but larger more established businesses are also gaining traction. “You do […]
Development West Coast CEO Heath Milne says the region is “open for business”, and there’re good, solid reasons for setting up a business there.
There’s been a steady increase in small businesses setting up in the region over the past two to three years, but larger more established businesses are also gaining traction.
“You do have a friendly environment to move into if you come to the West Coast. But what we’re seeing now is the larger potential businesses that are starting to kick off,” says Milne.
“They are largely in the mineral sector. We’ve seen a real increase in that area, which is probably counter-intuitive if you think about where the public perception of the mineral sector is.”
Milne says there’s a surge in business development and job opportunities on the Coast, particularly in industries related to natural resources, new technology, and renewable energy.
The West Coast is rich in natural resources, and global demand for commodities associated with these sectors is on the rise.
“We’re seeing some businesses in those areas that are starting to take advantage of that strong demand globally,” says Milne.
Development West Coast was set up as a Charitable Trust in 2001 to manage, invest and distribute income from a fund of $92 million received from government as compensation for the loss of indigenous forestry and the privatisation of much infrastructure on the West Coast in the late 1990s. The organisation’s primary objective is to promote sustainable employment opportunities and generate economic benefits for the West Coast.
DWC plays multiple roles in the region, serving as the regional tourism organisation, offering commercial financing services, and providing support for business development and growth. The latter is through advisory services and networking [Regional Business Partner Network], connecting businesses with mentors [Business Mentors New Zealand] and training opportunities [Upskill West Coast].
“The cost of starting a business on the West Coast is potentially lower than other parts of New Zealand. We have lower rent, lower property prices,” explains Milne. “The infrastructure for businesses is pretty good and there’s been a lot of investment that has gone into that space in recent times.
“The lifestyle for people on the coast is really good, that’s quite useful when attracting staff as well,” Milne explains.
Photo: The DWC team.