As part of the Creative Innovation 2019 Asia Pacific Conference in Melbourne 1-3 April, Kerry Anderson’s mission was to remind everyone of the importance of our rural towns and share ideas on how we can all give our support regardless of where we live.
Regardless of where we live, Australia's rural towns are important for so many reasons, most notably for supporting the farmers that produce the food we eat every day - 93 percent of it to be exact, plus they export a further 60 percent overseas!
Rural towns provide important services and social hubs for all of our rural industries. They are great places to live and work and are home to some of the most innovative people I know. But so many of these towns are isolated and struggling to adapt in a rapidly changing world. Some are struggling to survive and others are missing out on exciting opportunities.
A strong and diverse business sector is such an important part of every rural town’s long-term future. A very wise man once told me that his greatest contribution to the community was being successful in business. The people he employs enables them to live in his rural town, support other local businesses, and send their kids to the local school. Every single person makes a huge difference to a rural town.
Operation Next Gen works with rural towns, encouraging them to have new conversations with new people in new places. By looking at existing landscapes with fresh eyes they can diversify and embrace new business opportunities in the digital era. We cannot physically work with every town, but with the help of our city friends and using technology, we can make these valuable resources available right across Australia to multiple towns at a time.
We’re looking for partners to help establish a dynamic digital platform – an interactive step-by-step program that will share the collective knowledge of Operation Next Gen and empower local communities to build their own collaborative entrepreneurial ecosystems – supported by online mentoring, and innovative support resources such as blogs and podcasts. Through technology we can link a growing network of rural towns to share their experiences and foster collaboration Australia wide.
And, most importantly, we will also be looking for entrepreneurs to share their stories and inspire others.
As highlighted by Lord Adair Turner this week at Ci2019, we cannot afford to ignore regional areas. We need rural towns to prosper.
Rural towns are important to us all. Here are seven ways that individuals, universities, and corporate entities can give their support:
#1 Be a customer
Stop off next time you drive through a rural town or browse online and find a rural based business to support. You will also find some wonderful gifts, many with a unique story attached.
#2 Be an Ambassador
Tell people about your purchases. Support posts on social media. Give a testimonial. Check in.
#3 Award rural scholarships and internships
Travel and accommodation can be expensive. Offer scholarship and discounts to rural people so they can more easily access your events and training programs. Or provide valuable experience through an internship.
#4 Offer your services
Got skills or knowledge that you are willing to share probono with rural businesses and communities? Offer to mentor or speak online through Operation Next Gen or another worthy organisation. Better still, spend some time in a rural town. Best holiday ever!
#5 Include a rural perspective
Be inclusive and invite rural speakers to your next event. Reimburse their time, travel and accommodation.
#6 Recruit remote contractors
In the digital age we can now live and work in a rural location. Recruit contract workers for your next project from a rural location giving valuable support to a rural family and bringing a fresh perspective to your venture.
#7 Establish a rural base
Rural towns are full of the most amazing creative spaces just waiting to be put to a new use, and they are so much cheaper not to mention the clean, green lifestyle! In a rural town every new resident and every new enterprise makes a huge difference to morale and the local economy.
Contact Kerry Anderson if you want more information, are interested in supporting rural towns through Operation Next Gen, or want to engage an authentic rural speaker
for your next event.
Mob: 0418 553 719 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
KERRY ANDERSON: Founder of the Operation Next Gen program and author of ‘Entrepreneurship: It’s Everybody’s Business,’ Kerry works with small businesses and rural communities to help them embrace new opportunities. In 2018 she was named as one of Australia’s Top 50 Regional Agents of Change and, in 2019, was fortunate to be selected as one of eight scholarship recipients to present at the Creative Innovation 2019 Asia Pacific conference. READ MORE