COUNCIL

Council-led Business Delegation to head south

Friday 7 December 2012, 4:11PM
By Marlborough District Council
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BLENHEIM

A Mayoral-led business visit to Christchurch to scope more opportunities for Marlborough business to take part in the post-earthquake rebuild will be made early next year.

Mayor Alistair Sowman says the visit is a follow-up to the successful forum held in August where local businesses were able to make direct contact with the management of some of the major Christchurch rebuild projects.

The combined Council-Marlborough business initiative, dubbed COMBI, is an opportunity for local companies working in areas like design, roading, commercial construction, residential building, joinery and building supplies. The programme will give participants the chance to make contact with the Central Christchurch Development Unit and the key figures involved with the rebuild.

Mr Sowman says the Council’s ‘Smart Business Marlborough’ unit is promoting the visit as a way of facilitating contact and opportunity for the region.

“We’ve already seen some tangible results from the August forum we arranged here in Blenheim with some good contracts secured for Marlborough businesses. This is a next step which, I hope, will underline to the Christchurch construction community that Marlborough does have the capacity to play a role in the Christchurch rebuild,” he said.

The Marlborough Chamber of Commerce is the Council’s partner in this initiative.

The programme is still being finalised but there’s expected to be opportunity to get an update on the current situation from CERA, a presentation from the Stronger Christchurch Rebuild Team and the chance to speak directly to key figures from the large businesses leading the rebuild. A visit into the Red Zone and a close look at a one of the biggest new housing developments north of the city has also been arranged.

“It’s a chance to learn whether there are niche opportunities for Marlborough-based businesses as well as opportunity to see whether there is more product than could be supplied from our region,” says Mr Sowman.

The delegation will be based at the Westpac Business/Community Hub in Addington which has been set up to offer facilities for businesses and community groups affected by the earthquake.

All those joining the delegation will have a range of visits to choose from and there will also be assistance available to set up one-to-one meetings.

The two-day visit is scheduled for January 28 and 29, 2013.

Council’s economic development manager Neil Henry says the Council’s aim is to foster expansion of the regional economy but it is very much up to the companies themselves to pick up on this opportunity.

“Already we’ve had local businesses indicating they want to come on board. They can see the value of the kind of introductions to be made through a visit like this. For local companies who can step up and get involved now, but who might be wondering how they can get a foot through the door in Christchurch, this is their chance. Emails and phone calls sometimes yield little but personal contact can make things happen.”

Anyone interested in further information about the business delegation may contact the Chamber of Commerce, phone577-9575 or email Debbie@mcoc.org.nz .

A final decision on numbers will be made once the level of interest has been gauged.

Chamber of Commerce manager Brian Dawson says it’s hoped that a spread of industries will be represented.

“It’s important for our business community to understand that the scale of the opportunity in Christchurch is so large that there is scope for smaller operations here to work together to secure project work. That would be a change of approach for many businesses here but that collaborative approach is definitely worth considering,” he said.