New initiatives driving city growth
Enterprise Dunedin’s active partnership with the public and private sector in delivering on the city’s Economic Development Strategy outcomes is showing signs of achieving its focus – a growing local economy and increasing quality of life.
Enterprise Dunedin Economic Development Programme manager, Fraser Liggett, says Dunedin’s Economic Development Strategy has been signed up to by not only Dunedin City Council, but also Ngai Tahu, the Otago Southland Employers Association, the Otago Chamber of Commerce, the University of Otago, and the Otago Polytechni c.
“As a group we focus on a number of key areas including business vitality, creating alliances and innovation, providing skills, and aiming to create a compelling destination for people to visit, study, work, and live.”
He says a range of indicators have suggested Dunedin is moving in the right direction.
“GDP per capita growth of 1.7 percent is ahead of the national average of 1.1%, visitor numbers are up to more than 900,000 guest nights in commercial accommodation per annum, and visitor spending has grown more than 8%.
“House price growth of 17% has also trended well against the New Zealand average of 12%, and residential building consents increased 34% last year, compared to 10% nationally.
All of which we believe indicates a degree of investor confidence in the city, and attraction to the city.”
“We have a growing technology sector worth $300 million a year to our local economy.
In conjunction with our university, polytechnic, and schools, we are being recognised as a good place to study, too, with an international student market that contributed $117 million to the economy in 2015/16.”
Since winning its place as New Zealand’s first Gigatown in the Chorus competition, Dunedin has enjoyed the social and economic benefits of gigabit services, as well as attracting more specialist technology companies.
Now coming towards the end of the competition, Enterprise Dunedin is looking at life after the now rebranded GigCity initiative, and how it can encourage businesses and business start-ups within the city.
“In conjunction together with our Economic Development Strategy partners, we also offer business-to-business support.
“This ranges from red carpet support encouragement for certain investors and businesses within the city to help them navigate
council processes, to support with Callaghan and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise grants.
“The intention is to create a business friendly environment, and a business friendly culture.”
Creative, cultural, educational, and business opportunities have been and continue to be created through Dunedin’s long-standing sister city connection with Shanghai and other cities in China.
More recently, Dunedin has signed a new friendship city agreement with Qingyuan which will open up a range of opportunities for business and educational institutions in the city.
Economic development opportunities are also being opened through the Council’s Ara Toi Otepoti Arts and Culture Strategy.
Fraser says this work has seen an investment in Dunedin’s creative businesses and promotion of the city as a film location.
After a six-year absence from the South Island, New Zealand’s biggest annual businessto-business travel and trade event, TRENZ, is coming to Dunedin for the first time in 2018.
This presents an exciting opportunity to showcase the city to a range of providers, as well as create direct economic opportunities.
Enterprise Dunedin continues to promote tourism businesses and opportunities throughout the city and Fraser says there will be some good things happening around cruise ship tourism over the next 12 months.
Fraser adds that the Economic Development Strategy has a vision of establishing Dunedin as one of the “world’s great small cities” and delivering 10,000 extra jobs and an average $10,000 income for each person by 2023.
“While we don’t underestimate the challenge, we remain committed on delivering on both goals for the city.”
Some are liking the current Dunedin renaissance to the city’s founding days of great prosperity and growth sparked by the gold rush.
However, the Otago Chamber of Commerce says this time the city has a “more diversified platform” to ensure that “Dunedin is one of the world’s great small cities”.
Chamber chief executive, Dougal McGowan, says Dunedin continues to morph and change itself into “being renowned for more than just its excellence in secondary and tertiary education and its proud Scottish heritage”.
McGowan says the city is now also “linked to business excellence and innovation”.
He says there are many advantages to working and investing in the city.
“Winning GigCity is still paying dividends with a recent survey showing average speeds are four times higher than anywhere else in the country.
“This has seen a growth in online business, technology hubs and hi tech industries that require increased connectivity here and now throughout the world.”
“The University of Otago and Otago Polytechnic graduate programmes also mean that local businesses have access to some of the best and brightest young talent in the country right on their doorstep.”
He says in terms of infrastructure, Port Otago is now one of New Zealand’s deepest harbours and able to accommodate bigger ships, “with this capacity creating a gateway for exporters to the world”.
Meanwhile, he says Dunedin and the Otago region are continuing to benefit from the investment in the covered multi-purpose Forsyth Barr Stadium, which hosts multiple sporting codes and events as well as concerts such as the three Ed Sheeran gigs planned for March 2018.