A range of initiatives are being undertaken to grow Southland's population, the main goal of the Southland Regional Development Strategy.

Growing Southland's population is essential to allow businesses to grow and develop.  Without growth, Southland, like other regions is facing a workforce shortage due to an aging population.  Venture Southland is active in helping to ensure that skilled workers remain in Southland and attracting migrants to the region when required. Without people, new businesses and new industries cannot develop, and existing industries cannot be extended.

The importance of retention and attraction was highlighted in 2014 when Venture Southland commissioned the Southland Regional Labour Market Assessment from the University of Waikato.  The strategy led to the Southland Regional Development Strategy setting a population target of 110,000, an increase of 13,000 from the current population by 2025. To achieve this goal Venture Southland has implemented the following key initiatives: