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Business in the Bay brilliant

The drive to make Hawke’s Bay the country’s most innovative region has not slowed a year on from the kick-off of an inspired Government-supported plan.

Matariki – Hawke’s Bay Regional Economic Development Strategy was launched last year, with the aim of ensuring: Every household and every whānau is actively engaged in, contributing to and benefiting from, a thriving Hawke's Bay economy’.

The partners to the plan cover all facets of society, from iwi, hapu and the region’s councils, to health authorities, Government agencies and private business. There are seven areas of work, each with between four and 10 actions with their own lead agency.

Attracting business, investment and skilled workers is one of the work streams being led by Hastings District Council, working with the partner organisations.

One of the latest innovations is the roadshow Think Hawke’s Bay. It takes the benefits of running business from Hawke’s Bay to business people and organisations outside of the region. So far it has been presented in Auckland and Wellington, with more dates planned.

The two hour presentations are made to audiences invited through organisations such as Chamber of Commerce. They focus on the top reasons to consider moving business to Hawke’s Bay including cost-efficient key infrastructure (including the port, airport and broadband accessibility), innovation and lifestyle. It also includes presentations from people who had moved their businesses to Hawke’s Bay.

Those included Big Save’s Ray McKimm, who moved his furniture retailing business to Hawke’s Bay in 2010, and Fiona Thomlinson from Macarons, who shifted her biscuit manufacturing business from Auckland just over a year ago.

All attendees receive follow-up information, invitations to other Hawke’s Bay-centric events such as food and wine shows being held in their cities, and responses to their questions on doing business and living in Hawke’s Bay.

Think Hawke’s Bay had been developed as a sub-brand under Great Things Grow Here, which was last year adopted by all the Hawke’s Bay councils as the region’s primary economic development platform.  More collateral is to be rolled out over the next 12 months.

Made the move – Big Save

Using real life stories of businesses who have made the move to Hawke’s Bay is a big part of the Think Hawke’s Bay strategy, says Hastings District Council’s economic strategy officer Sam Jackman.

“Of course, we can tell the story of the very real benefits of working and living in our corner of Paradise, but having business people share their stories of how and why they moved here, and the enormous success it has been, is much more compelling,” he says.

One of those success stories comes from Ray McKimm, who moved his Big Save head office to Hawke’s Bay from Paraparaumu just north of Wellington just over six years ago. It was not a simple relocation, with 14 families making the move with the business “but we have not regretted it for a minute”, Mr McKimm says in his taped presentation.

He said the service offered by Napier Port and reduced business costs were big drivers behind the move. “Property rental is 25 per cent cheaper than Wellington, and about 45 per cent cheaper than Auckland. Being here is a lot more cost effective.”

Made the move – Macarons

Fiona Tomlinson moved her successful biscuit production from Auckland to Hawke’s Bay just over a year ago.

For her the decision had to fit with her desire for a better lifestyle without compromising her business. “In Auckland I was spending far too much time in traffic; I was stressed all the time and I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Her Auckland business peers were sceptical that her move would work, but it had been nothing but positive: “It’s been cost-effective and time-effective.”

There had been unexpected bonuses too; among them that all the skills and contacts she needs are here and that they are much easier to meet up with given the ease of travel around the region.

 “And we have fantastic distribution networks which completely manage that side for me. It’s seamless.”

4 October 2017

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