The Top of the South is set to benefit from Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) support for initiatives that include the establishment of an Artificial Intelligence Institute and a Food Factory for start-up food producers.

Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced the investments in Nelson today.

The investments totalling over $4.5 million are:

  • Nelson Artificial Intelligence Institute Limited (NAII) $3.4 million loan
  • The Food Factory (Picot Productions Ltd) $778,000
  • Economic development project delivery (Nelson, Marlborough and Tasman Councils) $400,000

The PGF is helping accelerate the expansion of the NIIA to use artificial intelligence to improve the productivity, competitiveness and sustainability of the aquaculture sector.
The Institute is expected to directly create 21 new skilled high paid jobs over the next five years.
“Artificial Intelligence is on the cusp of a global revolution and I am pleased the PGF has recognised the economic and social opportunities the Artificial Intelligence Institute will bring to the Top of the South region and New Zealand as a whole,” said Fletcher Tabuteau.
Nelson Mayor, Rachel Reese, said the funding aligns well with enhancing two (ocean economy, and research, science and technology) of the six core economic drivers of the Te Tau Ihu (Top of the South) region.
“We have a strong focus on adding value to our traditional industries and in a sustainable manner through the application of artificial intelligence technology.
“This new institute in Nelson will assist in creating more high-value jobs, having a significant flow-on throughout the region’s economy,” she said.
The Food Factory will receive $778,000 to help start-up food producers develop high-end food products.
A series of enclosed, fully equipped, commercial kitchens will allow aspiring food and beverage entrepreneurs to test their product’s concept, potential scalability and marketing in a supported, collaborative environment.
Mayor Reese said Nelson is the ideal location for such a venture, given our region’s reputation as a renowned centre for food production, aided by our favourable climate, quality soils and marine environment.
“We have the right ecosystem of producers, research and innovation, business talent, and a natural competitive advantage in the food and beverage sector to ensure the success of this venture,” she said.
The PGF has also provided $400,000 funding over two years to help grow the region’s economic development projects.
“These PGF investments announced today will build on the great strides the Top of the South region is already making and I’m proud that the PGF is maximising on the boundless opportunities in the region to be enjoyed by generations to come,” Fletcher Tabuteau said in Nelson today.
Mayor Reese said this additional funding boost aligns closely with Nelson City Council’s vision.
“Nelson is The Smart Little City, and clever business and innovation supports connections and growth for our communities.  
“We enjoy living fulfilled lives in smart, sustainable communities, and all these investments go a long way to ensuring we can meet that goal,” she said.