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Growing Wellington's International Business

media release
13 February 2008

Growing Wellington's International Business

Outstanding and internationally-recognised products, services, businesses, industry specialisations, and people are needed to transform the Wellington regional economy.

New regional economic development agency, Grow Wellington, says the region must increase export income to maintain a first world economy lifestyle for its residents.

Grow Wellington was created to implement the economic development initiatives in the Wellington Regional Strategy developed by the nine Councils of the Greater Wellington region. It started operating last July under the temporary name Regional EDA Ltd.

Nigel Kirkpatrick, Chief Executive of Grow Wellington, told a business audience at Te Papa on Wednesday 13 February that the agency's main task is to work with businesses and other organisations throughout the region, nationally, and internationally, to achieve economic growth through exports.

"We want to be the 'go-to' place for business in the region particularly those that are exporting, want to export, or are supporting export industries," Nigel said.

He said the region already had a number of individual businesses, outstandingly talented people, and industry sectors, that are world class.

Grow Wellington will focus on building on these advantages by bringing together supporting services and businesses to create internationally-recognised success stories.

Grow Wellington will continue to work one-on-one with individual businesses as well as on projects and programmes designed to benefit and transform entire industry sectors.

It is revitalising the successful and respected international screen production facilitation unit, Film Wellington, and also the business incubator for young companies with high growth potential, Creative HQ, which will become active throughout the region.

Angel HQ, launched by Grow Wellington late last year to connect early-stage entrepreneurial businesses with angel investors, has begun actively scouting for deal flow.

Grow Wellington has increased its support for the international marketing of the region's education facilities under the Education Wellington International banner. It also plans to build on the good work started by the region's tertiary education cluster and devote resources to commercialising education products for international markets.

It is continuing to work on the Wairarapa cuisine and fine wine major regional initiative, and is broadening the scope of its work in this sector to leverage on the quality of the entire region's food and beverage.

To support the region's manufacturers, the emphasis will be on working through the Industry Development Centre to attract more international projects.

Nigel said Grow Wellington will also be working on infrastructure affecting the business environment, including broadband, carbon neutral opportunities, and the region's international gateways its port and airport.

"We will not be doing this alone," Nigel said. "We will be working in close partnership with all the other business support organisations around the region.

"But most importantly, we will be working with business, for business success. We want businesses to give us a call, and talk to us about how this can happen."


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