Hikurangi Takiwa Trust and Co.Starters

The Eastland Community Trust has just approved the funding of two key projects under the Prosperous (Contestable Regional Economic Growth) Fund. This fund seeks to support amongst other things, those projects that retain and expand existing business, foster the establishment of new businesses, and connect our region to markets outside the region.

The Hikurangi Takiwa Trust has received funding for an economic development research project, focussed on mapping economic development opportunities within an area covering Waipiro Bay, Makarika, Huriharama, Te Aowera, Whareponga and Ruatoria.

The project will see an economic development plan produced for the hapu and will add to the work the organisation is doing in the cultural, economic, social and environmental sectors.

“The Trust is made up of local marae representatives with a vision to create new locally-led opportunities to accelerate development within the hapu,” says project advisor Manu Caddie.

“This project will map existing local businesses and identify their training, staffing and capital needs. We will also work with neighbouring communities because there is already so much interaction and cooperation, each community and business relies on people and resources in the wider district.”

“It will map the economic development opportunities for our part of the district but also identify the lessons we need to learn from previous economic development initiatives in the Waiapu Valley area,” he says.

General manager Leighton Evans says ECT supported this project because it sat well within the funding pool framework.

“The economic wellbeing of the community and sustainable development in the region are key priorities for the Hikurangi Takiwa Trust, priorities that align well with ECT and the Prosperous Fund,” he says.

The project will provide a valuable guide to prioritising investment to support increased economic development activity and sustainable development for the hapu.

 “This project should result in a plan for actioning economic development opportunities including business capability improvements, business expansion research and development investment. But what’s exciting is the organisation’s commitment to implementing the plan within six months of it being adopted,” he says.

“This gave ECT the sense that there is real community commitment to the project and that the region can expect some quantifiable outcomes from the project and this investment,” he says.

Local entrepreneurs will also receive a shot in the arm with the approval of a $23,000 grant to Activate Tairawhiti for the Co.Starters programme.

Facilitators were trained by the Chatanooga team as a follow up to the Chorus Gigatown project.

This second phase of the Co.Starters will see 64 local participants go through a series of four nine-week programmes,  which will test business ideas and turn those ideas in to action.

Co.Starters plays a key role in the innovation ecosystem in Chattanooga, the US city that inspired the Chorus Gigatown Competition, and New Zealand is the first country outside the US to implement the programme. The first nine-week programme will be run in Ruatoria.

In total the trust recieved four applications to the Prosperous (Contestable Regional Economic Growth) Fund totalling over $80,000 and approved two projects. This fund is always open for applications. The time frame for making a decision depends on the project, however the Trust endeavours to consider them within eight weeks.