Support Rural Towns


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:

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

Entrepreneurs are Problem Solvers


INTRODUCED as a “serial entrepreneur,“ at the Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education
Forum in Cleveland U.S.A., I wasn’t sure if the first of our three keynote speakers, Jeff Hoffman, founder of and many other significant start-up companies, was friend or foe. 

Thankfully it was the former.

“Entrepreneurs are problem solvers,” he explained.  “We find a real problem to solve and then create a solution.” 

Cathy Horton, founder of Nutek, had a similar message.  “Find a pain point and then go fix it!”

Without the benefit of any chemical training she has designed and marketed a range of green household and industrial
products to solve her particular “pain points” ranging from smelly sports gear to gasoline spills.

A brother’s discomfort during dialysis treatment got Deb Stanzak thinking.  As a seamstress and textile retailer she put her skills to work and created a zippered fleece jacket that he could wear to his treatments without having to strip down to short sleeves to accommodate his port. 

“This product was made out of necessity, it wasn’t intended to be a business,” she said but other patients started asking where they could also get a jacket. 

As a promise to her dying brother she went on to launch a clothing line under the brand of RonWear.  Projected growth is
significant based on the rising number of medical treatments worldwide.

Interesting isn’t it?  Each of the three speakers had a different story to deliver the same message.

“People driven by purpose outperform people motivated by money,” Hoffman concluded.

Back home in Australia I see evidence of problem solving and entrepreneurship all the time.

Physical Education teacher, Jarrod Robinson, wanted to inspire his Year 12 students to do better and make his teaching more engaging so he designed an app which is now sold world wide.

An underused community hall and no local dance classes inspired Rebekka Sherlock to set up a dance school.

Green waste was piling up in the Gannawarra Shire, dairy cows were getting mastitis from laying on wet ground, and farmers needed to replenish the soil in their paddocks.  Travis Howard came up witha new business idea that solved all three problems at once!

WHO have you seen solving problems in your community?  Please let me know!

WHAT PROBLEM SOLVERS DO YOU KNOW in your rural community?  Please let me know as I'd love to share their story in my forthcoming book and future blogs.  CLICK HERE to email me through the contacts page.

KERRY ANDERSON:  A businesswoman, philanthropist and community advocate from Central Victoria, Kerry Anderson is passionate about rural and regional Australia.  She works with small businesses and rural communities to help them embrace opportunities.