Sometimes serendipity has a way of punching us in the face.
That’s not usually the way serendipity works. It’s usually about chance or good luck or opportunity at just the right time.. But sometimes things happen because you see the value and the possible benefits that could result, and you know that YOU are the only person in the moment to get the ball rolling.
A few months ago a friend sent me a link to The Seed Scheme, a business development program for women living in rural areas of Australia. Turned out that if we wanted to register in the program, someone would have to apply for our region to be included in the next round. It’s at about this point of the story I like to joke around and say “Suddenly my friend was very busy!” but the truth is, rural women like my friend ARE incredibly busy. Like my friend, they may be already be involved in running one or two businesses, they might be working or studying, they usually have kids and/or parents needing a bit of help and obligations in the community.
I took the plunge and applied for Kingaroy and the South Burnett region to be included in the next round of the program, and promptly forgot about it. Two months later, I find I’m the official activator for the South Burnett POD and suddenly I’m sending out media releases, posting on socials and giving interviews.
Why all the hype? What’s it all about?
The Seed Scheme could be simply described as a business school for rural women, but it’s much more than that. Facilitated by The Rural Woman, the brainchild of rural champion Rebel Black, the program works on the premise that when women succeed in business or other endeavours, there’s a positive ripple effect that moves through their networks and connections.
Beginning with an eight week intensive business activation that includes a weekend with the local POD (or group of participating women), the program offers recorded courses, live masterclasses, mentoring opportunities and networking on a countrywide scale. Some are self-paced and designed to fit in a busy schedule, others are live or personalised. The topics run from how to pitch a business idea to finance to collaborations to marketing.
Who can apply?
Women living in the South Burnett region (and this isn’t about local government boundaries – it’s about communities, so places like Yarraman are included) who have an idea, or a start up or an established business have already met the eligibility criteria. You could be a mum of school-aged kids wanting to start something from home, you could be a partner in a retail business, or you could be involved in ag. It doesn’t matter what the business is,
You need to be committed to a year-long program of developing yourself and your business/business idea, and while the program is heavily subsided, there’s a fee of $18 a week. Part of this is paid forward to the next round of the program, but it’s also about having some skin in the game, and let’s face it – a lot people spend more than that each week on coffee.
To apply, head over to The Seed Scheme and fill out the simple EOI form. You’ll then be sent an application to complete. Neither are difficult or too time consuming. The facilitators want as many businesses as possible to grow in regional Australia, and putting roadblocks in front of people isn’t going to help achieve that goal.
To apply, begin here. And good luck with your business venture!
Image by Jenny Marvin via Unsplash