South Waikato Investment Fund Trust (SWIFT) is focusing on the future with a new chief executive and a refreshed emphasis on supporting communities and businesses in the region to manage the impact of the pandemic and rapidly increasing inflation.
The trust has recently appointed Tirau local Amanda Hema as chief executive. Hema brings extensive community experience and networks to SWIFT, supporting the trust’s strategy of building long-term connections for the collective prosperity of the region.
She joins SWIFT after working as a consultant for the last six years, following a decade with the South Waikato District Council as general manager for community services. Prior to this, Hema was the chief executive of Cambridge Chamber of Commerce, and strategic projects manager for the South Waikato Economic Development Trust.
Of Hema’s appointment SWIFT’s chair Bruce Sherman says, “Amanda’s connections with the South Waikato District, and experience in local government make her the ideal person to lead our strategy of focusing on connecting businesses with regional service providers, building business resilience, and ensuring great outcomes for our community.
“In the last five years more than 75 additional businesses have set up in the district, 566 more people are in work and 1700 more people are calling the South Waikato home. Since 2017, SWIFT is pleased to have assisted economic development within the district with funding support for businesses and key projects of over $16 million.
“The trust has overseen this period of rapid growth with the support of Francis Pauwels and we’re grateful for his contribution in recent years, and wish him well for his future endeavours.”
Sherman and the SWIFT board recognise that after a period of expansion it is time to double down on existing investment, and support businesses in the community by leveraging the trust’s networks and connecting them with local service providers.
“SWIFT is focused on long-term community economic development and building business resilience,” Sherman says. “Business attraction never goes away, but in the current environment the most important contribution we can make is to ensure our existing businesses thrive in the face of significant economic headwinds.”
To enable SWIFT’s strategic shift from rapid growth to business resilience, fostering sustainable partnerships and long-term investment, two new community-based roles have been created – operations manager and community liaison coordinator.
“Businesses and start-ups in the South Waikato need more than seed funding. They need passionate, long-term support from SWIFT and local support services to help them achieve their goals in the face of the concentrated headwinds of COVID-19, supply chain issues and inflationary pressures.
“We’re delighted to have appointed Shannon Double as operations manager and Anita Goodman as community liaison coordinator, who will work together with the community to deliver positive outcomes over the long term,” Hema says.
As a South Waikato resident of more than 25 years, and systems focused, Shannon is excited to be involved with the trust to further create and implement policies and procedures to make connections, grow people and businesses within the South Waikato.
Anita joins SWIFT with a diverse 15-year career year in Hamilton, including an apprenticeship as a transmission line mechanic and projects with Transpower, HR and events with Fonterra and most recently events and sustainability with Hamilton City Council.