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 allowing businesses to grow and develop in the region. Southland, like other regions is facing a workforce shortage due to an aging population. To counter this Venture Southland is involved in a number of initiatives that focus on attracting people to the region and ensuring skilled workers remain in Southland. 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: