By Sue Trewin, This Regional Life
I recently chaired a discussion with Chad Renando, Tracy Scott-Rimington and Julia Spicer on How does regional Australia transition to new industry opportunities for Future Industries Australia. The focus was on how we, as influencers, can attract and incubate emerging industries. Our aim, with the input of our webinar audience, was to identifying collaborative ideas for growing innovative economic development in regional Australia.
Who is responsible for developing entrepreneur capacity in a region?
Economic development in regional Australia is dominated by the capacity and ability of the associated council. Traditionally, entrepreneur building is the domain of the progress association, chamber of commerce, small business network and social connections. But new forms are emerging, with varying levels of success depending upon the nature of the regions’ ecosystem. Examples of these include 6 Degrees Co in Coffs Harbour, Start Up Gladstone, Bendigo Creative Industries Hub and The Bridge Hub in Wagga Wagga.
The challenge is marrying the old with the new
We agreed that emerging industries require new thinking and are often different from the owner/entrepreneur through to organisational structure and employment requirements. So, it makes sense that to attract and incubate these, it also requires an innovative approach to networks. However, these new forms of capacity building cannot form in isolation in a regional area. They need to work with the traditional business builders. And in return, our local business operators must embrace the new in order to maximise economic opportunity for their region.
The new hub eco-builder should then look at joining the footy club and coming along to the pub trivia night. In return the chamber of commerce should invite the future industry entrepreneur to provide an information night to their members. Only by mutually beneficial collaboration will the region achieve success for all in the community.
Collaborate for success
What works is when government planning, process and support combines with university research, business, regional development agencies and community in seeking out organisations, influencers and city-movers to develop a successful transition for emerging industries combined with growth opportunities for local business.
Regions need to identify their strengths and communicate these to people wanting to make the move. To transform though for emerging industries, it is up to a local influencer to attract others who are like-minded and form an economic development ecosystem. This is our challenge!
The Future Industries Australia online networking session was attended by people from all states of Australia representing government, small business, regional based organisation, ecosystem builders, community and entrepreneurs. We will be continuing this discussion to support and inform – let me know if you want to play a part.
For more information on moving to the regions www.thisregionallife.com.au