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Open day to mark launch of Kaiti digital hub

A new hub for developing grassroots technology in business is to open on Friday following renovation work completed on an upstairs space at its location in Kaiti Mall.

Tairawhiti Technology Trust received funding for the business hub through the Provincial Growth Fund and is looking forward to welcoming people to the open day.

The hub will allow people to connect for business development and support, and offer services such as free Wi-Fi, co-working spaces and guidance on using the internet for business marketing and skills development.

“Everyone is welcome but we would like to get more twenty-somethings registering and using our services,” says trustee Polly Crawford. “Several such entrepreneurs will be at the open day to talk with people about their businesses and marketing their products.”

The new space will offer seminar facilities and “hot desking” — much like the Launch! Co-working space but with more of a community focus.

“The hub will provide a professional environment for people wanting to start businesses or explore business ideas,” says Tairawhiti Technology Trust trustee, Matt Clark.

Trustee Helena Mill said it was all about accessibility.

“We want the hub to be easily accessible to those in the community who want to learn the basics or upskill.”

There will be two business seminars a month and the trustees are keen to support people in learning how to produce good marketing material such as brochures, as well as video and audio to share on social media.

Trustee Maurice Alford said the funding would pay for the fit-out of the new upstairs space, as well as contribute to ongoing running costs.

It would also allow the trustees to better budget for addressing the needs of the local community.

Staying safe online has become a particularly urgent issue as the Covid-19 lockdown meant many more people began working from home without the security protections available in a bigger business setting.

There will also be advice available on how to use a smartphone with apps like two-factor authentication (2FA).

Mrs Crawford said the TaiTech Trust had a lot of support from members of the community, who encouraged it to apply for funding.

Gisborne is one of five new regions to get PGF funding to set up a digital hub.

Each regional hub receives a total of $400,000 over a five-year period.

The others are in Katikati, Levin, Woodville and Murupara.

These hubs bring the number of communities with hubs to 13.

The others are in Northland, West Coast, Bay of Plenty, Hawke's Bay, Manawatu, Whanganui and Horowhenua.

Funding for these initiatives comes from the PGF's local digital connectivity funding package of $21 million which, as well as establishing regional digital hubs, helps connect marae to the internet.

■ The open day will run from 11am to 4pm at Kaiti Mall.