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August news update

Announcement of Geothermal funding

The geothermal action stream received a significant boost this week, with the Government announcing $150,000 towards the establishment of a geothermal business development lead.

The Bay of Connections sought funding from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to co-invest with local government and industry on the new position to deliver on the Te Toi Moana Economic (Geothermal) Action Plan.

The new role will be responsible for delivering specific actions from the plan, with the main objective of stimulating demand for geothermal heat resources. A key purpose of the new role is to promote awareness, within both domestic and international heat users, of the value proposition and commercial opportunities presented by geothermal energy in the wider Bay of Plenty.

Alongside our central government partners, the business development lead will develop a programme and approach to attracting investment, ultimately leading to economic development and the creation of jobs for the geothermal sector and the region.

The funding is a major boost for the Geothermal Action Plan and work will now get underway in appointing a person to the position.

Evaluation of Regional Growth Strategy (RGS)

MBIE and MPI have commissioned an independent evaluation looking at how the Regional Growth Study has been implemented in the Bay of Plenty and Northland – the two regions which have had Action Plans in place for the longest period.

The evaluation will look at whether the Central Government processes used to implement the programme so far have been effective, consider the outcomes that have been achieved, the value for the wider community and where improvements can be made.

Those who have been involved in the RGS may be asked to be involved in an interview or short online survey. Thanks in advance for your support of this.

Eastern Bay of Plenty Career Link programme

A feasibility study around establishing a new education to employment programme in the Eastern Bay of Plenty has been met with resounding support.

Toi-EDA workforce project manager Barbara MacLennan says the study demonstrates the need for such a programme, and shows employers in the Eastern Bay of Plenty want to employ locals, but find the current education and training pathways don’t always suit their purposes.

The study also has the support of high schools, iwi and Māori organisations, with all sectors wanting more connection around existing and emerging work opportunities, and how to jointly build education and training pathways to them.

The full feasibility study has been sent to all interviewees and contributors, and Barbara is currently working to raise the necessary three-year establishment funding from local and government partners to set up the Career Link programme before the end of 2017.

Aerospace Engineer speaks to Governance Group.

NASA aerospace engineer and Silicon Valley CEO Sinead O’Sullivan was a guest speaker at the recent Bay of Connections Governance Group meeting.

Specialising in space technology, she is currently the lead for the Space Generation Advisory Council’s research group on space technologies for disaster management. In addition, she is a Research Fellow for the US Centre for Climate and Security, focusing on drone and satellite technologies.

Sinead was in New Zealand to participate in Groundswell, the inaugural Festival of Innovation, which took place in Tauranga earlier this month.

Māori Innovation Fund – Commercial Advisors Scheme

The Māori Innovation Fund - Commercial Advisors Scheme, funds Māori collectives up to $60,000 to work with a commercial advisor for up to 18 months. Advisors offer professional business advice and mentoring as they work with collectives on business development projects aimed at realising the potential commercial value of the collective’s assets. Applications close September 11, and more information about the scheme is available here.

Tourism Infrastructure Fund open now

Applications for this fund close on close on 4 September, 2017. Applicants should come from local councils and community groups with council support. The fund supports communities facing pressure from tourism growth and in need of central government assistance, particularly those areas with high visitor numbers but small ratepayer bases.

To find out more about the fund, click here.

Upcoming meetings

RAO Meeting
30 August

Freight Logistics Advisory Group (FLAG)
19 September

Annual Report Launch
December 7

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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

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