In the Sydney Morning Herald, my friend Jo Burston, from Inspiring Rare Birds talked about how she went back to her hometown and interviewed young girls at 10 years of age about what they wanted to do when they grow up. The answers where the same as what they were when she was a child, and they are the same as when I grew up in Charters Towers. It seems that in country towns, nothing has changed.
Changing the script
"When I grew up the script in my head was go to school, get a job, save up, buy a house, get married, have two children, two dogs, an in-ground swimming pool, and start the process again with my own children."
Charity does begin at home
I've always been charitable. It's in my core DNA. I am the person who doesn't walk past a begger on the street without stopping and offering money or food, and I am not talking a few coins - I am talking about emptying my wallet and giving the begger ever cent I have in my wallet, because they need it more than I do. I believe that if you are lucky enough to have more than you need, then it is your duty to help people that have less than you.
Another issue that is prominent in rural towns, and in particular one's in the US and Australia is cruelty to animals - deliberate or not. Dog fights, for instance, is big in country towns, but education and bringing the issue of cruelty and responsibility to the forefront is the only thing that will bring change.
Country life can be brutual; the elements of rural living doesn't give you access to everything you need and particularly in Australia, drought is a big problem.
But when I grew up, I didn't see that. Instead I saw how amazing it is to grow up a country girl, and be surrounded by people who live off the country and in general ensure that you grow up in a wholesome environment.
Change is needed
Few people embrace change, but I believe it is necessary in all areas of life. To keep evolving and moving brings with it a new norm. My upbringing and privilege of having such a wholesome environment has made me realise just how lucky I am and because of that, I want to do whatever it takes to give back to the community I was brought up in.
To that end, I have been working with the help of my staff and interns who give up their time for free to develop a program for The World Incubator, a 10 to 15 person incubator program supported by the Charters Towers Regional Council's kindness in donating a building for the trial period and beyond.
- Invite 10 to 15 entrepreneurs to sit in the incubator for 3 months, 5 days per week with access to some of the best mentors in the world
- Payment of $500 per week courtesy of sponsors to key individuals to aid in getting their idea off the ground
- Constant support and motivation by Community Manager
- Help entrepreneurs take a business idea and commercialise it to a point where they are able to employ other people
What the local community will gain out of this:
- Employment opportunities
- An entrepreneur culture and exposure to some of the great entrepreneurs in Australia and abroad
- Focus internationally from people that can potentially help the community flourish and share experiences of doing the same
- Greater opportunities for locals looking for work or wanting to be inspired by entrepreneurs
- More business for everyone
We've seen how a startup can become a large business many times before in rural parts of the world. Now, it's time to put Charters Towers on the map and give entrepreneurs the support and encouragement they need to be successful.
Hard work pays off
Being an entrepreneur is hardwork and requires a lot of determination and strong will. They exist in Charters Towers, but perhaps that person who is just about to finish school hasn't quite realised their full potential or that this is an option.
- This program proudly supports indigenous Australians and is aiming to have a minimum of 30% incubatees that are Indigenous in the program.
- This is a not-for-profit progam.
- NSS, regional Queensland's largest stevedoring company, was the first to put up their hand to pay for an incubatee in the program. Please support them wherever you can, because they care about our community