In March 2014, I first became uncomfortable. I wanted to get closer to my desired way of sharing my skills and talents.
I started a micro business because I had a set of skills and a vision for my community. I wanted to create an opportunity to stretch and challenge myself. I wanted to connect with many businesses across industries—and join their teams—to deliver the energy and creativity that they needed to transform themselves, a product or service.
I wasn’t alone in deciding to take the leap and establish a microbusiness. A KPMG report commissioned by the NBN was released in September shows that in our region, the total number of jobs is decreasing, while the number of microbusinesses is on the rise.
An economy with flourishing micro-businesses and start-ups has so many benefits. These businesses are characterised by passionate leaders who have a very clear sense of their skills and expertise and are highly motivated. They are businesses that are incredibly mobile; often needing only a phone to operate. They are responsive, flexible, loyal and dedicated to real outcomes for their clients.
Being responsive and flexible are the key attributes needed when creating an ecosystem for innovation. Unfortunately, the Regional Australia Institute has rated our region as lagging in innovation.
Innovation thrives through collaboration and a culture of readiness to “back each other”. This can only happen by working with people different from you—with a different lens, a different industry, gender, culture, or ability—who have a shared willingness to take risks and share learnings.
Bendigo has a number of co-working spaces, one of which I am a member—Synergize Hub. I have a desk and NBN Wi-Fi in a gorgeous office space located in the head office of Haven Home Safe. As a co-worker, I interact with people from all different walks of life; business and industry. Right now, there are incredible collaborations and innovations happening between microbusinesses offering new solutions for our region.
Synergize Hub is about offering space for microbusinesses who are willing to contribute to an “open” culture of sharing, and who contribute value to our community that we all do business within.
Our region definitely has an emerging bubbling sector bringing together businesses who are ready to collaborate and innovate. Now is the time for leadership and further investment.We have a great foundation for start-ups and micro-business. My vision is for our leaders and larger businesses to step out of the “norm”, get uncomfortable and invest into diverse microbusinesses and start-ups inside and outside of their industry. That they back unique collaboration to find new solutions, new ways of working for their businesses and for the issues facing our community and the world.
I would also love to see resources invested into micro-businesses seeking to scale up and sustain their activity. This means more networking and exchange designed specifically to happen between traditional slower-moving larger businesses and microbusiness. This may mean opening up our businesses and working in lighter, more fluid ways that create the opportunity for interaction, exchange and collaboration.
First published in the Bendigo Weekly Opinion column 17 November 2017
Tamara Marwood is the Creative Director of Create Business, delivering strategy and content for businesses to engage their audience and create attention. Stay in touch with Create Business on Facebook and Instagram.