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2023 Reflections and highlights from CEDA CEO, Jerry Shearman

2023 Reflections and highlights from CEDA CEO, Jerry Shearman

As I reflect on 2023, I am grateful that our regional economy has continued to prove itself as resilient, and I'm thankful for the strength and depth of partnerships that we are so fortunate to have here in our region and across Aotearoa.

This is echoed in the latest business sentiment report, with overall mood from our regions business community showing steady confidence in the long-term outlook and that despite the current economic headwinds, our region remains relatively steady in our focus and confidence which is reassuring to see.

From an economic development perspective, the city and district are well positioned to push forward with key projects progressing well for the betterment of the region, and New Zealand.

The team at CEDA continue to work to achieve our ambitious vision and goals for the region, working alongside our partners and stakeholders. Particular highlights this year include the great amount of mahi and effort that has gone into Te Utanganui, the Central New Zealand Distribution Hub across a large group of stakeholders. This is a true example of a catalyst project that has short, medium and long-term wins for not only the region, but for New Zealand's transport and logistics network as a whole.

We're also one year into implementing the Manawatū Destination Management Plan, and alongside CEDA's priority areas, it's been heartening to see our regional partners take the key themes from the plan and run with it as we all work together to future proof the visitor industry, including the opportunities with Te Āpiti Manawatū Gorge.

The Manawatū Regional Food Strategy has been another highlight, providing a shared vision and road map for the region, ensuring a bright future for food and agriculture, guiding stakeholders across the ecosystem from field to consumer. The success of the strategy relies on a focused implementation plan, which is being rolled out in partnership with the wider industry. CEDA is well positioned to support the implementation on behalf of the region, with a collaborative approach uniting the food network.

Alongside this, our core business has continued with an all all of CEDA effort supporting our sectors of strength with integrated talent and skills initiatives and future workforce intel, helping our businesses to grow and fostering innovation with our partners in the innovation ecosystem.

Underpinning this mahi, our strengthened focus on lifting the profile of our region as a great place to visit, live, and do business continues to bear fruit, and our commitment to strengthening up the investment pipeline to support the growth of our region and bring to life the ambitions of our shareholders, and regional strategies is stronger than ever.A big part of how we bring value to the region is the building and maintaining of relationships including our local iwi and hapū, businesses, regional stakeholders, and our shareholders collaborating with others means that we can achieve more, working together to ensure a thriving and sustainable Manawatū.

On behalf of the CEDA Board and team, I would like to sincerely thank all our partners, stakeholders, businesses, communities and our shareholders who help us make the region the best it can be as we work towards our goals and ambitions.

I wish you all a wonderful, safe and happy festive season - hopefully exploring as much of our beautiful region as you can and sharing it with your friends and whānau.

Make sure you check out for all the inspiration you need, including the region's jam-packed events calendar.

Mā te wā
Jerry Shearman,
CEO, Central Economic Development Agency

This was published in the 60 Seconds with CEDA newsletter on December 20, 2023. Sign up here to receive our newsletters directly

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