A new Impact Hub that opened in Tokoroa this month will nurture budding entrepreneurs in South Waikato, which also spans Putāruru, Tīrau, and Arapuni.
Impact Hub Waikato has launched the Tokoroa Impact Hub, which is in Swanston St, with two floors offering flexible co-working options, meeting and workshop rooms.
"The space is everything you would expect of a modern co-working environment, but an Impact Hub is much more," says Impact Hub Director and South Waikato development lead Nanise Ginnen.
"We are a part of a global community of more than 100 Impact Hubs in more than 50 countries. Over the last two years, we've built an entrepreneurial support offering with a focus on building entrepreneurial skills and fostering a community with a shared desire to use business as a vehicle for positive change in the world."
Ginnen said a digital space in the hub set to open this year will provide digital capability-building opportunities for businesses. "Waikato has developed a reputation for being a leader in technological development, with more than 50 information technology companies based here.
"Impact Hub South Waikato looks forward to delivering a range of opportunities to learn through workshops, events, entrepreneurial and business support options. The first event will be an Impact Hub partnership with Waikato website company Rocketspark, where local businesses not yet online will learn to build and manage their own websites and local IT professionals will be enabled to support them through the platform."
South Waikato Mayor Jenny Shattock said the new Impact Hub and a $14 million Trades Training Centre being built at the northern entrance to Tokoroa with a $10.8 million government grant and co-funding from Trust Waikato and the South Waikato Investment Fund Trust (SWIFT) would enable young people to learn without having to leave the district.
She said South Waikato was on a roll for new business initiatives, with international food and beverage leader Olam Food Ingredients (OFI) having just announced plans to build a dairy processing facility at Tokoroa.
OFI would join Japanese-owned Oji Fibre Solutions, which owns and operates the Kinleith pulp and paper mill just south of Tokoroa, as major industrial plants in South Waikato.
The OFI announcement follows the opening in April by locally owned company Better Eggs of its 139ha free-range forest near Tokoroa that is set to become New Zealand's leading egg production site.