Waikato economic development agency Te Waka has secured Economic Development Agency Capability Funding of $200,000 a year for two years.

Minister of Regional Economic Development, Shane Jones, announced the Te Waka investment at a function on Wednesday at the Ahikōmako - Centre of Māori Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa in Hamilton.

Other Waikato PGF investments announced by Jones in Hamilton included: $449,300 for Smart Waikato's secondary school employer partnership programme and just over $700,000 for the redevelopment of the Paeroa Historical Maritime Park Marine Development.

Te Waka CEO Michael Bassett-Foss said Te Waka aimed to match the funds dollar-for-dollar to help Waikato organisations access growth funds.

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"As the region's economic development agency, our role is to facilitate economic growth. Helping Waikato businesses and organisations gain access to the Government's Provincial Growth Fund is an important part of our remit.

"We'll use this funding to provide hands-on assistance to support organisations to develop their business cases and applications to the PGF. This new service will accelerate Waikato applications through the system and give submissions from our region the very best chance of being considered for funding," said Bassett-Foss.

Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones at Te Ahikomako, Te Wananga o Aotearoa. Photo / Provincial Development Unit
Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones at Te Ahikomako, Te Wananga o Aotearoa. Photo / Provincial Development Unit

He said contracted service providers planned to match the $200,000 with $200,000 of in-kind support each year.

"This level of support gives us nearly half a million in resources over the next two years to put behind getting potential PGF projects investment-ready."

The Paeroa Historical Maritime Park Marine Development includes four elements: construction of a wharf, installation of two floating pontoons, purchase of a vessel to transport passengers and bicycles between landing sites and construction of a 256 metre board walk to connect the pontoons. Landscaping will also be carried out.

The Hauraki District Council has committed an additional $400,000 to the Paeroa project.

Chair of Te Waka, Dallas Fisher. Photo / Provincial Development Unit
Chair of Te Waka, Dallas Fisher. Photo / Provincial Development Unit

PGF investment into Smart Waikato's Secondary School Employer Partnerships will allow this successful project to expand further. The programme is aimed at students in years 9 and 10 and connects students, educators and employers with the goal of introducing students to a wide range of careers.

Bassett-Foss said "To date, Waikato has lagged behind other regions in gaining access to PGF funding, so it's heartening to see projects with the potential to contribute jobs and economic wealth obtaining Government investment.

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Patron of the Paeroa Historical Maritime Park, Basil Morrison, at this week's funding announcement. Photo / Provincial Development Unit
Patron of the Paeroa Historical Maritime Park, Basil Morrison, at this week's funding announcement. Photo / Provincial Development Unit

"It's great to see the wider Waikato region now taking advantage of the opportunities on offer, and the team at Te Waka is looking forward to playing our part in bringing these projects to fruition."

Te Waka begins its new PGF application investment-ready service immediately. For more information, contact enquiry@tewaka.nz.

Te Waka's aims for Waikato organisations

• Identify and qualify a pipeline of major projects applicable for PGF funding
• Accelerate the number of projects presented to the PGF
• Secure successful investment deals for projects
• Increase capacity and capability of firms looking for further investment by working alongside existing service providers

Michael Bassett-Foss, CEO of Te Waka. Photo / Supplied
Michael Bassett-Foss, CEO of Te Waka. Photo / Supplied

To achieve these outcomes, Te Waka will operate under the following scope:

• Work closely with Waikato Provincial Development Unit staff to identify and prioritise projects for potential investment
• Develop and maintain a list of projects and their relative position in terms of criteria such as viability, governance/management, fit with regional priorities, connectedness with other projects, stage in their evolution through to investment ready
• Review projects to qualify their viability, filter out non-viable projects, identify what needs to be completed to improve viability, ascertain the position of the project in the pipeline of projects
• Review and guide development of feasibility and business cases with project owners to ensure projects are ready for investment
• Identify and engage with potential funders and assist in securing investment deals
• Provide direction and guidance to project owners for the effective planning, monitoring and delivery of projects