DWC Releases 2021 Annual Report
Development West Coast has released its annual report for the year ended 31 March 2021. The report highlights a year of extremes - economic disruption from the COVID-19 pandemic and record engagement and support for local businesses.
During 2020/2021, DWC approved $6.7m in commercial finance (an 86 percent increase from the previous year). A further $3.5m was invested in regional development and community projects (a 36 percent increase).
DWC’s investment portfolio had an outstanding 2021 financial year, with the Investment Fund achieving a total return of 17.21%, comfortably exceeding the benchmark target of 11.84%.
Income from investments of $19.1m, less distributions and operating costs, resulted in DWC ending the year with a net profit of $14.2m. The income from investing activities includes $9.6m unrealised gains on investment.
The strong market performance of the past year will help towards ensuring the real value of the Fund is maintained for future generations, while also allowing DWC to increase investment into initiatives that support the COVID-19 recovery, such as the $5m Glacier Country Business Support Fund approved by Trustees in February.
2021 marked the twentieth year of operation for DWC. From its initial capital of $92m in 2001, DWC’s direct investment into the West Coast’s economy has now reached $164.6m while also maintaining the Fund at $146.4m.
The true value of DWC to the region goes far beyond direct investment into the economy. DWC staff are working with more local businesses than ever before to build capability, as well as helping them access other capital and business opportunities.
During the financial year, DWC actively worked with 390 clients through the Regional Business Partner (RPB) network (a 44 percent increase), which included allocating 286 COVID-19 and Tourism Transition business advisory vouchers for professional services valued at around $710,000 to 230 West Coast businesses. Despite disruptions from the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown and social distancing requirements, over 700 people attended DWC business events and workshops during the year.
DWC is continuing to leverage its Fund to attract investment into the region. Over the past five years DWC has contributed around $1.1m towards feasibility studies, business cases, project co-funding and funding applications which have helped secure over $57m in central government funding for projects that are creating jobs and strengthening resilience on the West Coast.
COVID-19 has triggered a significant economic shock to the West Coast and DWC continues to focus on helping local businesses manage the impacts, as well as looking ahead at the economic recovery. The recent flood event in the Buller is also having a major impact on the region and will be a focus for the coming year.
As the economic development agency for the region, DWC is facilitating the development of a Tai Poutini West Coast Economic Development Strategy. The strategy will include a collective vision for the West Coast economy through to 2050, along with priorities to deliver.
The strong 2021 financial year has put DWC in a good position to leverage and attract further resources and investment to help implement projects and actions identified in the West Coast strategy, while also contributing to DWC’s mission to unleash business potential on the West Coast while caring for people and place - Wetekina te pito mata pakihi, manaakitia te tangata, tiakina te rohe.