Australia Post via their Community Grants Program have opened a funding round for organisations. The program aims at building healthier, more vibrant and inclusive communities which have strong capabilities to leave a positive legacy around Australia. The program aims to develop this level of capability at a local and national level.
With 12 keynote speakers and 58 breakout and poster presentations the conference offers the chance to interact with some of Australia’s most innovative business leaders, academics and regional development organisations, as well as farmers and farmer peak bodies, to set the scene and increase general awareness of delegates across a range of challenges and opportunities. See Professor David Lamb from UNE talking about the Conference running in Armidale 26-28 June 2013.
Kym & Kaye Bernardi have owned and operated the BIG4 Shepparton East Holiday Park for 14 years. They are an independent member of BIG4 Holiday Parks franchise, which has parks all around Australia. They currently have 23 self-contained cabins, 12 ensuite powered sites, powered caravan & tent sites and 12 mobile homes. The park predominantly caters for the family market. Both Kym & Kaye have made significant capital investment into technology and their park ensuring it has some of the best family friendly facilities like giant jumping pillow, solar heated pool, synthetic grass tennis court, pedal go-karts, recreation room and camp kitchens.
We recently spoke with Michelle Moore and Bruce Connolly from Moira Shire Council, about regional businesses that are embracing the digital economy. We’ll be documenting Moira Shire’s new Economic Development strategy over the next 12 months – this will take the form of an interactive document, with the capactity to use technology like QR codes and online videos.
Michelle and Bruce discussed local case studies such as a Yarrawonga retailer that has broadened their markets by selling online. Since taking the business online two years ago, they have increased their turnover by 60%, and now sell to markets around the world. The business owners looked at their environment and saw increasing pressure on retailers, and a need to adapt. Expanding their range and selling products online allowed the business to increase their sales while still maintaining their desired lifestyle, living in a regional town. Bruce notes that many country businesses are inherently conservative, and reluctant to adopt new business models – though recent examples show that there are many benefits to doing so.
The council also sees potential to improve collaboration and networking among regional business owners. Local micro-producers work to sell value-added products at the farm gate, and have begun promoting their activities online. Websites like Sun Country Food and Wine give producers the ability to sell their products online. Call to action – when food is showcased at expos and shows.
The shift to a digital economy still has its challenges. Micro producers often don’t have much time to explore the range of new technologies that their business could be using. Marketing and promotion is another factor – it’s important to get the word out there, letting customers know that these products are now available online.
Councils are likely to have the greatest role to play in assisting local businesses to make this change, by showing them how they can use new tools to increase their market share, access new markets, and improve production and profitability.
It’s also important to note that when opening up new markets, many of the ‘old rules’ still apply. Understanding people and culture are critical when expanding into new areas, such as new export markets. Respect cultures, build relationships and embrace technology to enhance these relationships.
NBN take-up rates among small and medium businesses approaching 90 per cent in some regional first-release sites
Dr Jane Burns, CEO of Melbourne-based adolescent support initiative the Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre, sees pervasive NBN broadband as a way of extending traditional support mechanisms all the way into homes
For the GPs, new forms of patient interaction offer opportunities to improve the service for existing customers and develop service offerings to attract new ones
Some critics and detractors are still very vocal. However according to Trent Williams, General Manager External Affairs at the NBN, the network itself tended to silence critics once they understood its benefits.