Business is booming in Tauranga with hundreds of new businesses and more than 2900 jobs created last year.
Data from Infometrics commissioned from Priority One shows in 2017 there were 798 new business units in the city and 2980 new jobs.
The city's economic agency also said it was liaising with national and international companies that are interested in doing business and could pump hundreds of millions of dollars into the local economy.
A Ministry for Business Innovation and Employment Regional Overview Report revealed 66 per cent of all companies in Tauranga were solely owner operated. Companies employing one to five staff were the second largest group, employing 3084 staff, and 72 companies employed more than 100 people.
Priority One business partnership manager Mark Irving said it was in discussions with a multi-national retail and distribution company, an international software and telecommunications company, an Auckland-based marine company and a Danish composite engineering company.
They were considering Tauranga as a business location, he said.
International corporations from Japan, South Africa, United States, China, Russia, Switzerland and India had also visited recently to investigate developing large-scale projects, primarily in the infrastructure and emerging technology sectors.
''When businesses expand or relocate they bring more people to the region through staff and associated families.'
''Their skills widen the offerings that the Western Bay of Plenty have on offer and act as attractors of talent to the region. More people, in turn, increases retail opportunities and as a result, we see solid growth in our overall region.''
There had also been a notable increase of local companies expanding their operations. The majority were relocating to Tauriko Business Estate, he said.
Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stan Gregec said, ''Tauranga is still on a roll''.
The city was showing substantial growth across many sectors at the moment, which was good news for the local economy.
"It's great to see another boom year for business start-ups and expansions. This is translating into more jobs as well as new businesses. There is little sign of this letting up, and people are still arriving here in good numbers from out of town."
But in his view, Tauranga needed to avoid becoming another Auckland and ''a bold approach to multi-modal transport is probably the biggest single thing we can do''.
"We need to massively speed up and scale up our investment in transport infrastructure, taking advantage of whatever central government funding can come our way. Unfortunately, we are well off the mark to becoming the internationally competitive city that some would aspire us to be."
Tauranga Māori Business Association chairwoman Awhina August said its membership had increased 30 per cent since 2015.
It was starting to gather more growth momentum, she said.
''Māori constitute 25 per cent of the wider Bay of Plenty population and have extensive land holdings and strong cultural and economic ties to the region.'
''The asset base of Māori in the Bay of Plenty has been estimated by Te Puni Kōkiri to be between $6-9 billion, including ownership of 32 per cent of the land in the region. This does not include treaty claims by local iwi, which are still being negotiated with the government. ''
Meanwhile, Bay of Plenty Chinese Business and Commerce Association president Candy Yan said business confidence among its members was ''pretty good'' although language and culture understanding was a challenge.
2017 Business stats
* 10,503 sole owner business operators
* 3084 businesses with one to five staff
* 924 with six to nine staff
* 438 with 20 to 49 staff
* 141 with 50 to 99 staff
* 72 with 100 plus staff
- source MBIE report
Bright light shines on Brother
An iconic business that relocated to Tauranga in 2014 is reaping hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of cost savings every year.
Brother International NZ chief operating officer Matthew Stroud said the move to a purpose-built site at Tauriko Business Park had enabled the company to ''future proof ourselves''.
The business relocated from Wellington in 2014 - a move that had resulted in significant cost savings including freight and being closer to its major markets.
''Eventually, we entered into a relationship with Element IMF who provided us with a purpose-built development in Tauriko that perfectly met our needs and at a rate that couldn't be met in either Auckland or Wellington. Negotiations with Mainfreight also ensured we made significant savings over what we had been paying and the decision became pretty simple.''
The company brought 27 staff as well as their families and employed four more at the time of the relocation as well as a further 21 new staff to date not including temporary workers.
Stroud said there had been an array of positives for its workers and the company.
''The staff love it here, and that was always a prerequisite, and we've employed some great people. We can now deliver overnight to anywhere in the country ... and the Port of Tauranga provide a fast and efficient turnaround, in turn reducing our stock holding requirements.''