Despite difficult economic times over the last two to three years, some businesses are thriving, says Hutt Valley Chamber of Commerce executive director David Kiddey.
He says the chamber’s recent Business Excellence Awards provided numerous examples of companies doing well in the face of the recession.
Despite the likelihood of further public service cutbacks, he believes economic prospects for the Hutt Valley remain good. “Public service numbers have been fluctuating for years. There are always new jobs being created in the economy.”
He says the Hutt chamber’s major project is Technology Valley, which links businesses with innovative services from Crown research institutes and helps businesses use technology to develop and deliver new services.
The chamber is also running a series of seminars aimed at upskilling small businesses in social media and how to use it as a marketing tool.
Meanwhile, Hutt Mayor Ray Wallace says he is ecstatic at the government’s decision to allow Crown research institute IRL to remain in Lower Hutt after fears it could relocate to Auckland. “It’s a real vote of confidence in our city.”
He says IRL has received national and international recognition for the science it has done in the city, enhancing the area’s reputation as a centre for science and innovation. “I’ve been pushing the Technology Valley concept. I’m committed to work with IRL and other science providers to make the Hutt the science and technology capital of New Zealand.”
Hutt City Council’s city development manager Gary Craig says that the council is committed to supporting business and economic growth in the city, and is involved in a number of initiatives to make this happen.
One of the council’s main projects, Making Places, aims to maximise the potential of the central business district. The plans involve 200 potential projects over the next 20 years that aim to make the CBD more attractive to businesses and residents.
He says the council also provides financial support to the Seaview Gracefield Working Group to help implement the Seaview Gracefield Vision, which aims to provide stability to support the area's existing businesses while providing a suitable environment for the growth of new and emerging ones.
“We want to work together with the Seaview Gracefield business community to ensure the area continues to be a crucial industrial and commercial hub for the region.”
The Wellington Regional Strategy, the document that guides economic development throughout the region, is currently being reviewed.
A spokeswoman for the region’s economic development agency, Grow Wellington, declined to comment on current initiatives pending the outcome of the review.
She says the review is likely to be finishedshortly. Grow Wellington will work with local councils to implement the review’s findings.