From the desk of Jelinda Millgate.
After a solid three days of driving around the local area with my fellow judges and our Chamber chaperone, I came away torn between feeling inspired to the brink of tears and having an overwhelming sense that I am simply not doing enough with my life! There is a new breed of entrepreneur emerging in the region and they are a force to be reckoned with.
There was a fair mix of youth and experience within the finalists, and the entrepreneurs in their twenties were already hitting significant milestones, some in their first year of business. Many had business mentors which was surprising (I wish I had known there was such a thing as a business mentor when I was a twenty-something business owner). As a result, these guys had business plans, clear goals, documented processes and procedures, and knew where they were heading.
The thing that really blew my mind though, was how socially conscious the businesses were.
From the mining company desperate to change stereotypes, whose workforce is 75% indigenous and 35% female, to a coffee shop banishing straws, disposable cups and recycling coffee grinds to help the environment, it was evident to see that the new breed of entrepreneur really cares about the world around them.
There was one business owner whose major goal was to get a local sporting team to the Paralympic Games, and another who was a former mining employee now committed to creating regenerated local landscapes for recreation and tourism. Without exception, every business we interviewed, had a social or environmental mission included in their overall business plan. The socially conscious approach looked to be paying off financially as well, with one business starting out with twenty grand capital and growing to a multi-million dollar company in less than two years, confirming that a clear sense of purpose can set an enterprise apart from the competition.
The level of the hospitality and tourism businesses in the region is phenomenal, representing a showcase of quality local produce, stunning scenery, clever branding and a service standard equal to any major city or tourist destination.
The level of the hospitality and tourism businesses in the region is phenomenal
There is also a sense of community within these industries, working together to promote the region as a whole and building synergies between what each of them offer. Innovation is not just a buzzword to this cohort either, we were amazed by some Australian firsts in our travels as well.
From one business to the next, I was moved by what I was seeing, such an immense sense of pride and connection in this bustling community giving rise to an entrepreneurial movement which I believe has Muswellbrook on the brink of significant change. I am not sure what they are putting in the water there, whatever it is, may some of it flow on to the rest of us. It’s magnificent.
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