(click for back to step 2 – The State of the Region Report)
From this State of the Region Report, Shuman says, there will be obvious ripe business opportunities.
Unmet needs suggest new markets for local businesses. Under-utilised or poorly utilised resources may then be matched with people with ideas but lacking capital or land – unused buildings or land for instance, discarded goods that may be recycled or up-cycled. Businesses that displace the need for many current imports will begin to emerge based on the commitment to joint values made at step one. This is where a few companies must step up as champions to point the way forward. He says:
The existence of one or two successful community corporations – using local inputs, producing quality goods, operating in harmony with the environment, selling to local consumers, treating workers well, delivering profit to local shareholders – should inspire others to follow… As they increase the demand for inputs to production, new firms will be motivated to set up shop. (p187-188)
In Northland we have a great example of a Social Enterprise that has led the way in CBEC (Community, Business and Environment Centre). Based in Kaitaia, CBEC has ventures throughout Northland. With a focus on creating employment and running community services (transport, home insulation, solar power, conservation and recycling) in a sustainable way they have proven the viability of the Social Enterprise model in Northland (According to Akina, Social enterprises are purpose-driven organisations that trade to deliver social and environmental impact).
Northpower is another successful, long-standing community owned enterprise that has proven the feasibility of vibrant and viable local ownership and management. Based in the Whangarei and Kaipara areas Northpower returns profits from its electricity and fibre communications businesses back to the local community.
The Whangarei Growers Market is effectively a cluster of local growers who have developed a worldwide reputation, attract visitors to Northland and have a significant impact on the local economy. The Akina Foundation, while not locally owned, is presently working in the Far North coaching a series of new social enterprises, through the recently completed Far North Thrive Programme.
Questions to consider:
- How do we identify more of these type of organisations?
- How do we champion the work of these as models to be emulated?
- How do we network these and other organisations together in clusters for increased effectiveness?