Go Westland

Westland for the Wild at Heart


  • The Go Westland competition grew out of Westland’s Working - a project of the Westland District Council. It was a three stage competition designed to encourage entrepreneurial ideas from young people from throughout the Westland District.


  • The project had three main aims: to stimulate and support young people as entrepreneurs, to develop new business or service ideas in the Westland area, and to promote a community where innovative ideas thrive. Organisers also used the event to encourage the whole community into thinking of new ways to create employment and sustainable futures for Westland people.


  • This project involved a business plan competition aimed at young people aged 16-24 years who had ideas for a product or service but were not sure how to get started. brochurecover.jpg - 9161 Bytes

    The competition was organised in three phases:

    1. Preparing a business idea. Competitors described the product or service in relation to need, value, market size, innovation, competition or feasibility. There were 20 awards of $1000 each available to individual or team winners in this phase.

    2. The Business Case - competitors undertake a more in-depth analysis of phase 1. There were 10 awards available of $1500.

    3. The Business Plan - this takes the concept from concept to company.

    The first prize was $5000 and runner up $3000. Throughout each phase the young entrepreneurs were supported by expert mentors gathered from the Westland community - their areas of expertise included marketing, banking, accounting, legal, and planning and regulatory.


  • The Employment Catalyst in partnership with The Mayors Taskforce for Jobs has given $25,000 to this competition.


  • The Go Westland Competition was launched in August 2002 and final awards were announced in December.

    Of the three winners, one has gone on to follow her business plan - Melissa Scarlett’s “River Play Adventure Kayaking,” run together with partner Deane Parker, can be checked out on their website: www.riverplay.co.nz.

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    Melissa reports…”since the completion of the Go Westland competition, Deane and I have been enjoying the challenge of putting the Plan into action. We have developed and consolidated our adventure products, gained concessions from the Mawhera Incorporation (Arahura River) and DOC, and have used our business plan to help gain finance from the West Coast Development Trust. We now have exclusive access to the Arahura River on which we run Adventure Rafting - a guided hiking or heli access trip. This river is the source of much of New Zealand’s pounamu and is therefore very culturally significant to Maori, plus it has great white water…………..the Business Plan Competition was a great initiative from the WDC (Westland District Council) and I would encourage other organisations to offer similar opportunities to young people”.

    Amanda Ingham has used the skills learnt during the competition to trigger a new idea for a business (not the one submitted for the competition!) which she hopes to develop further in the future.

    Sarah Murray has decided not to go ahead with her winning idea however she says the experience was invaluable and a wonderful learning opportunity. She feels confident that she will at some time put the skills learnt to good use, either by development of her prize-winning idea or being able to create a business plan for a completely different venture. She was disappointed that more young people didn’t respond to the challenge.

    Organisers John and Maree Howard were also disappointed that there were fewer entries than expected, just 8, but the ideas were very good and all those taking part felt they had learned a lot.

    Westland District Council
    Westland Mayor John Drylie

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    District Council

    The council supports the competition as part of its wider efforts to foster long term economic development in the Westland District

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    “ This venture is innovative and exciting and will in my view give many of our young people the incentive and opportunity to develop plans which will lead to new businesses in our district and employment for a number of young people. I commend the project …”
    John Drylie, Mayor of Westland

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    Project Contacts

    Working Westland
    John Howard
    Gillams Gully Rd
    RD 2 Hokitika
    phone 03 755 5446