On this page: The Waikato Story, Secondary School-Employer Partnerships, Māori Economic Development Strategy and Action Plan, Ruakura: A project of national significance, Modelling the economic costs and benefits of different land use scenarios in the Cambridge-Auckland growth corridor, Understanding the Waikato innovation ecosystem, Waikato Regional Labour Market Strategy, Towards greater regional economic development capacity, Results of the Economic Development Capacity and Capability Project, Review of Regional Innovation System.

The following is information about some key projects being supported by Waikato Means Business.

Review of Regional Innovation System

Innovation leads to improved prosperity and wellbeing through making, organising and marketing products, services and processes in new and better ways. To support the Waikato Regional Economic Development Strategy, WMB commissioned MartinJenkins to review the structure, operation and performance of the Waikato innovation system and recommend a small number of specific actions that would have the greatest impact on strengthening the Waikato innovation system. The review finds that the Waikato region has much of the elements of what one would expect from a successful regional innovation system.

Read the Waikato Regional Innovation System review [PDF, 2.5 MB]

Results of the Economic Development Capacity and Capability Project

To support the Waikato Means Business Strategy, we commissioned MartinJenkins to undertake a review of economic capacity and capability in the Waikato. The purpose was to get a better understanding of the arrangements for governance, funding and implementation of regional economic development in the Waikato. The goal was also to accelerate the achievement of the growth goals in the WMB strategy and the government's Business Growth Agenda.

Read the report [PDF, 1.7 MB]

Towards greater regional economic development capacity

This is a cross-cutting project, acknowledging that greater regional economic development capacity and capability is most probably required to not only convene the various stakeholders involved in regional economic development, but to also provide the capacity which is often required in order to keep things moving.

While no formal work has been commissioned on the options for a regional EDA, a Waikato MBA student is currently undertaking research on options for economic development capacity and capability for the Waikato. Once this research is complete it will be analysed, and options for greater regional economic development capacity and capability will be evaluated and reported to the Steering Group. Advice will then be provided to the Waikato Mayoral Forum.

Waikato Regional Labour Market Strategy – mapping future workforce needs

The project arises from the Waikato Regional Labour Market Strategy which was developed in 2015 by a cross-sectoral leadership group chaired by John Cook. It will provide better quality regional data on the future employment demand trends for the Waikato's key employment sectors, helping to both profile these opportunities to people via the Waikato Story, and also to help educators and training organisations to make sure they are providing the necessary training and skills to meet that demand. This will complement the recent work done by MartinJenkins for UNISA.

Understanding the Waikato innovation ecosystem

This project stemmed from the 2015/16 proposal to undertake a regional growth study in partnership with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. Since this idea was proposed further analysis has shown that a standard regional growth study is not necessary in the Waikato, as the Waikato economic development strategy and implementation programme has achieved the same general aims, at least at a regional level. However some of the fundamental underlying economic competitiveness and performance processes in the Waikato are still poorly understood, especially those around research and development, innovation and commercialisation. This project will review and seek to better understand the current systems, actors, incentives and interventions. From this it will identify strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for systematic improvement.

Other projects underway

Ruakura: A project of national significance

Ruakura capitalises on the Government investment in New Zealand’s key freight transport infrastructure being at the intersection of the Waikato Expressway and the East Coast Main Trunk Line. Waikato Regional Council and Hamilton City Council has identified Ruakura as a flagship initiative in the economic development strategy for the region to further stimulate regional economic growth.

Modelling the economic costs and benefits of different land use scenarios in the Cambridge-Auckland growth corridor

This project seeks to better understand how the growth goals of the Waikato economic development strategy could be achieved through different development scenarios in the Cambridge-Auckland growth corridor.

As this area is expected to be where the vast majority of the Waikato's economic opportunity and population growth will occur, it will be important to better understand what scenarios of change- especially in terms of land use, would achieve those goals. This work will be an important contribution to work on the Waikato Plan and the review of the Future Proof Strategy(external link).

Māori Economic Development Strategy and Action Plan

The Māori economy is a significant opportunity for the Waikato. The Waikato Means Business Steering Group along with Waikato Tainui and Te Puni Kōkiri has contracted BERL to develop a Waikato Māori economic development action plan and agenda to help guide actions and interventions which support Māori in the Waikato to prosper.

Engagement with government about Māori economic development initiatives in other regions and how key agencies such as Te Puni Kōkiri can support the implementation of the action plan will be important.

At a meeting of Waikato Region Iwi Chief Executives in January 2016, Chief Executives supported in principle the development of an Economic Agenda and Action plan for Māori in the Waikato region. Following this meeting Waikato-Tainui led a request for proposal (RFP) to find a suitable consultant to undertake this work.

Key deliverables of the project are to produce for Māori in the Waikato region, within the Waikato Means Business framework, a document consisting of a:
• Short-term action plan: to include actions, milestones, implementation accountabilities, outcome indicators and monitoring and evaluation plan for these indicators, for the next 1-3 years.
• Long-term economic agenda: to include: goals, outcome indicators and monitoring and evaluation plan for these indicators, for the next 10-plus years.

A final agenda and action plan is to be completed by 31 March 2017.

Secondary School-Employer Partnerships (SSEP)

Secondary School-Employer Partnerships (SSEP)(external link) is a high-profile legacy project developed to strengthen vocational pathways between school and employers.

The goal of SSEP, supported by the Waikato Means Business, Ministry of Education and WEL Energy Trust, is to improve student retention, achievement and education-to-employment transitions, beginning with Year 9 and 10 students and progressing to senior students. SSEPs see employer groups from priority sectors linking into school faculties to support contextualised learning for students.

The project is co-funded by Smart Waikato(external link) and WEL Energy Trust(external link). Smart Waikato’s role is to establish best practice, encourage school and employer participation and assist in the support and sustainability of SSEPs.

SSEP is being piloted at five Waikato schools in 2016, including Hamilton Boys’ High School, Fairfield College, Morrinsville College, Thames High School and Hauraki Plains College.

Smart Waikato envisages 10 new schools being involved in 2017, tripling the number of SSEPs in the region from 2016, and at least another 10 schools in 2018. The 2017 application period is 1 July 2016 to 29 July 2016 and on-boarding employers and schools will occur in the latter part of 2016 for 2017.

The Waikato Story

The way people think about a place has a direct effect on its economy. We know locals have a positive perception of the Waikato region. That’s a view we want to be shared nationally and internationally so that we can attract more visitors, more families, more students and more business investment.

Creating and sustaining a positive image is central to the success of the Waikato Economic Development Strategy. But to grow, first we need to tell the Waikato Story.

This project aims to drive growth in the Waikato region by consistently promoting the attributes that make the Waikato a unique place to live and thrive, work and succeed, visit and enjoy, and invest in for return.

In late 2016, the Waikato Story launched. It included a video, website and set of resources to help Waikato businesses tell the Waikato Story. Visit link) to find out more.