Growing up in the heart of the sheep and wheat belt in Boorowa NSW, my world appeared limited to the bridge just near my Nan’s coffee shop and the tall trees along the road that always indicated home when we would travel away.
The whole community stood as one, with the pride and spirit of the town’s people keeping the small town alive and flowing, no matter what the challenge or opportunity.
It’s a town where we celebrate “Woolfest” by running sheep down the main street, where the luck of the Irish flows in the streets and gold prospects filled the dreams of the early white settlers. The community was built from the hearts and the hopes of the people, even in recent times when the hospital burnt down or a nearby community hall burnt down from a bushfire.
But while our rural and regional communities love to back a local and a community cause, Government investment in regional hubs and ideas encourages the next generation of rural entrepreneurs to stay local and develop their ideas in their own community.
This provides not only a benefit for youth who get to grow their ideas in regional towns, but also the community who benefit from an increased amount of funds in the local economy.
Entrepreneurship doesn’t just grow in the hearts and minds of people, it is nurtured in the cattle yards, thrives amongst the canola and blossoms in our orchards.
The agricultural industry is built on same foundations as innovation, with leading farmer’s forming natural innovators in the products and markets they create. Though only recently has agriculture’s best kept innovation secrets been shared throughout our city streets. Here are the top 5 things to love about entrepreneurship in rural and remote Australia and working in agriculture:
1. Your office is dictated by you
Although entrepreneurs often crave the caffeine hit from the constant coffee meetings and the hustle found in co-working spaces, great ideas can be found flourishing between farmers at a cattle sale, sitting on a tractor harvesting wheat or at a local coffee shop in a small town. Being an entrepreneur in the country means your office is completely dictated by you- you can be integrated into farm life and the environment as much as you would like.
2. W.F.F. – a completely unknown day
We all know big corporate companies are encouraging us to work from home, a great opportunity to wear your favourite pyjamas, stay in bed and meet virtually with clients anywhere in the world. In the country, we shake things up a bit further- instead we Work From Farm (W.F.F). Working From Farm means that no two days will ever be the same. You will be taking teleconferences and important calls from the cattle yards or shearing shed, moving livestock or fixing machinery in your lunch or coffee break and pitching your idea constantly to absolutely any animal that will listen.
3. The industry is ready for disruption
While the innovation uptake curve was modelled off agricultural research and development, much of the industry has remained static. We have progressed in terms of water usage and climate change adaptation and agricultural greats have designed and patented leading products to help with safety and production- yet the whole agricultural industry is ready for serious disruption
4. There are plenty of mentors for advice
One of the hardest things about being an entrepreneur is trying to get the ear of someone who has done it all before and learn from them. An experienced mentor can make the difference between your product either a success or a failure. In regional Australia, the opportunity to find a mentor who is invested in helping you succeed is easy- simply head along to the nearest auction or sale and ask away. Before long, some of the greatest and most honest feedback will be heading your way!
5. The whole town will back you
The greatest thing about living in a small town is that the whole town will be motivating and encouraging you to succeed. Everyone is invested in you becoming your best and wants you to do well- they want you to put the town on the map! Whether it’s the debrief session by a campfire or coffee (or both), getting cut outs of your face in the local paper or being told over and over that you will become the next prime minister, the whole town will rally behind you and give you their support.