Investing in economic renewal is critical; it can leverage further investment which can make a huge difference to a small community. FRRR’s goal is for communities to be able to support themselves, now and in the long-term. Our diverse programs support projects that help create a sustainable economy – jobs, growth, and shared wealth - across different demographics and ecosystems.
Growing business in the bush
Norseman in WA, has seen a huge decline in population and businesses are doing it tough. The Esperance Local Enterprise Initiative Committee Inc. identified a need for digital and business training workshops to help local small businesses to maximise efficiencies of scale and break into the online market.
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Norseman, which is in the Goldfields-Esperance region of WA, 726 km east of Perth, had a population of 5,000 people in the 1970’s. It’s now less than 1,000 people. Despite being the gateway to South Australia, the town is often bypassed and local businesses are doing it tough, feeling the impacts of a decline in the mining industry and the increase in online shopping.
The Esperance Local Enterprise Initiative Committee Inc., a not-for-profit organisation that delivers training initiatives and management advice, identified a need for small, face-to-face digital and business training workshops to help local small businesses to maximise efficiencies of scale and break into the online market.
With a $9,000 ANZ Seeds of Renewal grant they were able to deliver 18 workshops, designed by the Small Business Development Commission of Western Australia, to local small business owners and prospective owners across the region. The workshops were customised to take account of the local situation and included business basics, website basics, online marketing, understanding business financials and The 12 Step Business Plan.
These small-scale, face-to-face workshops not only created a good learning environment but also provided a rare networking opportunity, explains Colin McArthur from the Esperance Local Enterprise Initiative Committee Inc.
“Retail is really struggling with increasing costs and a downturn in the market, so any efficiencies to be gained using technology is of benefit.
“The feedback from most attendees indicated they would adopt their learnings into their businesses immediately.
Overwhelmingly, however, they agreed there is a need for further business training opportunities,” said Mr McArthur.
As a result, they are currently in the process of identifying local experts and training them to deliver ongoing support to these communities.
On-farm training for a career on the land
Ag Gap is a unique rural training program to encourage youth to embrace careers in agriculture. This year saw the launch of the Hay Inc. Rural Education program, a version of Ag Gap with fifteen participants.
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Ag Gap is a unique rural training program designed to encourage youth to embrace careers in agriculture and rural life during their gap year after high school. This year saw the launch of the Hay Inc. Rural Education program, a version of Ag Gap.
Fifteen participants from New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania completed an intensive and hands-on introduction to the basic concepts in stock handling and property maintenance on various properties in the Riverina, NSW. This was possible in part, thanks to a $10,000 grant from the FRRR ABC Heywire Youth Innovation program.
Blackall–Tambo gets going online
Drought impacts everyone, not just farmers, with flow-on effects for small businesses in local communities. Blackall and Tambo are two such towns, with businesses reporting significant reduction in turnover. However, for many there are opportunities online, if they know how to capture them.
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Drought impacts everyone, not just farmers, with flow-on effects for small businesses in local communities. Blackall and Tambo are two such towns, with businesses reporting significant reductions in turnover. However, for many there are opportunities online, if they know how to capture them.
Through a $7,500 grant from the Tackling Tough Times Together program, thanks to support from the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation, local leaders were able to run marketing and digital training workshops. These enabled at least eight small businesses to strengthen their online presence and alleviate the impact of drought and the economic downturn.
Participants learnt about digital marketing channels including websites, blogs, social media, electronic newsletters and digital advertising, focusing on what would work best for their businesses.
The participants found the workshops very beneficial with one, explaining how much she got out of it.
“I now have a marketing plan with measurable targets and outcomes and I know how to analyse the social media and website stats. I actually understand what my website is really for and what it will (hopefully) do for me,” she said.
Innovation in table grape production
The Australian Table Grape Association and InnoGrape ran a series of workshops on latest production, packaging and marketing strategies of table grapes for 119 producers from the Sunraysia / Murray Valley region. These resulted in several growers changing or modifying practices.
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Through FRRR’s Fast-Track Ag Innovation program, the Australian Table Grape Association and InnoGrape received a $150,000 grant, thanks to the William Buckland Foundation, managed by Equity Trustees.
The aim of the program is to help growers adopt the latest science, technology and innovation. There were 119 producers from the Sunraysia / Murray Valley region who attended workshops about the latest in production, packaging and marketing of table grapes for domestic and export markets. The group also produced six short training videos.
As a result, participants have increased knowledge, with a number of growers changing or modifying practices in the management of their business. The group is now in the second year of this three-year program and continue to innovate.