QLDC backs for four economic development projects

Queenstown Lakes District Council has approved funding for projects in the areas of education, business incubation, tourist data and sustainability with its new Economic Development Fund.

The decision at today’s Council meeting will see the allocation of $115,000 to four initiatives;

Study Queenstown to boost international student numbers in the district - $50,000 to Study Queenstown

Business incubation to support businesses with high growth potential - $25,000 to CreativeHQ

Insights into visitor demographics to help with targeted marketing - $20,000 to Wherewolf

Support for tourism operators to capitalise on the sustainable visitor market - $20,000 to the Sustainable Business Network


Councillor Ross McRobie, a member of the advisory panel that recommended the fund allocation, said the number of applications was a positive sign. 

“For a new fund to spark over 30 enquiries and 11 applications makes it clear locals are on-board with the need to diversify our local economy,” said Councillor McRobie.

Council also chose to allocate $20,000 of the $135,000 budget specifically for activity to encourage startup businesses.

Councillor McRobie added, “There were a number of projects focussing support on startup businesses.  We wanted to keep some money aside to encourage those involved to join forces and create a district-wide plan for how we can do this.”

QLDC Economic Development Manager Peter Harris said that he is looking forward to supporting the initiatives that were allocated funding.

“All four projects are leveraging other expertise and in some cases our funding will help unlock significant funding from other organisations.”

He is also keen to help unsuccessful applicants with their next steps. “There are some excellent ideas that weren’t allocated funding from this round however that doesn’t mean they can’t get support from economic development in other ways. I am happy to work with people on their Plan B,” said Mr Harris.

Council will decide whether to offer the contestable fund again in 2018/19 as part of its Draft Ten Year Plan discussions early next year.

CUBE WANAKA