Small businesses in Ruapehu district backed by $400,000 PGF boost

Published: Dec 12, 2019

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  • Manawatū/Whanganui

Small businesses in the Ruapehu district will soon be backed by a dedicated Regional Digital Hub in Ohakune thanks to $400,000 of investment from the government's Provincial Growth Fund (PGF).

Rachel Hoskin and Shayna Te Riaki in front of the Te Pae Tata logo.

Rachel Hoskin (left) Te Pae Tata Manager and Shayna Te Riaki (right) Programme Coordinator for the Waituhi Business Centre.

The funding will be used to extend Te Pae Tata, a community learning and tech hub run by Ngāti Rangi's Ngā Waihua o Paerangi Trust, so small businesses and self-employed people have a free co-working space and access to business training and support.

Robert Pigou, Head of the Provincial Development Unit, said that connectivity is an essential part of doing business while lifting regional productivity and economic development.

"This PGF funding will help Ngāti Rangi expand an already successful community hub so that small business owners have some additional resources that will help them to grow and expand," said Robert Pigou.

"PGF support will fund technology like high-speed wifi and 3D printers along with virtual reality equipment. Te Pae Tata will also provide mentoring and advice, such as social media support to help businesses grow and take advantage of new opportunities.

"The Regional Digital Hub is also near other small towns like Raetihi, Waiouru and Taumarunui to make Ohakune a centre of digital growth in Ruapehu, and to enable better connection across the Manawatū-Whanganui region. Anyone will be able to use this free service for business support, both people living in the region or passing through. It's essential that our regions have the right level of infrastructure; from roads, bridges and rail to fast, reliable internet connections, particularly as industries like tourism continue to grow and businesses need to increase their online presence," said Robert Pigou.

Ngā Waihua o Paerangi Trust General Manager Erena Mikaere said the funding is integral to helping their iwi and communities grow.

"The sharp increase of online businesses is leading to a more digitally connected community for local and global opportunities. It's great to have the support of the PGF for the growth of our entire Ruapehu district. As tangata whenua we are pleased to be able to contribute to this kaupapa," said Ms Mikaere.

Funding for this project comes from the PGF's Digital Connectivity funding package of $100 million announced in February 2019.