Pomona is a strong rural community in the Noosa Hinterland of the northern Sunshine Coast. It is approximately 130 km from Brisbane/International airport and has a population of approximately 2500 people. The region is affected by global economic forces as well as local issues such as high unemployment, high percentage of people on benefits, issues of isolation and access to facilities: equipment and resources.
The proposed pilot small business incubator program at Pomona seeks to be a catalyst for solutions to these economic issues. We aim to develop the business ideas of aspiring entrepreneurs, taking them to the world, succeeding and thereby stimulating additional employment in the local community. The program will provide assistance to participants through corporate sponsorship, grants and in-kind support. In addition, the NISER will provide access to mentoring to ensure that the developing start-ups successfully launch.
These start-ups will be given training, services and guidance from the facilitator and mentors to help them get their businesses up and running. The business plan focus for the next three years is to:
- Stage an initial successful pilot (and then)
- Help Create 25 new business each year from local Pomona region entrepreneurs
- Help create 100 new jobs over the next three years from the Incubator
- Have a success rate of more than 30% in converting ideas into successful businesses
- Secure $50,000 per annum sponsorship and grants for the NISER program to help local economic development in the Noosa hinterland region.
The economy will be Noosa rural communities are often heavily reliant on farming and tourism which therefore limits employment opportunities. Hence, many of the brightest minds of regional communities are forced to migrate to larger metropolitan areas in order to realise their full potential. As a result, there is a distinct disadvantage for citizens of such rural communities, compared to that of bigger cities when it comes to employment opportunities. Consequently, there is limited growth for rural communities in terms of employment outside of the traditional workforce. And so it is vital for small towns to further diversify into the private sector in order to create more job opportunities for those within the local community.
Small businesses are the backbone of the Australian economy including in this region were approximately 90% of businesses are small businesses. It is critical to invest more than ever in the future of local small businesses. These businesses can create opportunities for locals to strive harder, kick-start their own ventures and get other locals on board.
Our goal at The NISER is to powerfully contribute to diversification of the economy in a moment, with the intention of developing Pomona is an entrepreneurial community where people are encouraged to try and earn the living from their business ideas. Overall we hope to help build a start- up culture in Pomona and the neighbouring communities, thereby working towards a sustainable intake of start-ups year after year.
At The NISER, we recognise the growing trend of globalisation. Therefore, we encourage all businesses to not only think local when developing their venture, but to also focus on export markets and international opportunities. By supporting entrepreneurs to market to the world, we will increase business activity, employability and create a sustainable local business environment. Economic prosperity is not the sole purpose of The NISER incubator; we also aspire to encourage the social benefits that these start-ups can bring to a community.
Through our program, we aim to improve community spirit, reduce rural depression, homelessness and help build the fabric of our community. Through launching successful start-ups we intend to place Pomona on the world map as a place where serious businesses are built. We want to ensure that everyone who wants start a business in Pomona has the opportunity so that employment is enhanced and locals have a genuine opportunity to secure a job. We also want to create exemplars and mentors for the young people of Pomona and educate them about their opportunities and business/career options.
How the NISER Incubator Works
NISER is a not-for-profit charity and the incubator is a community economic development initiative – an entrepreneurial development program, with the aim of fostering innovation through empowering and supporting locals who have a dream. We aspire to assist these ideas from concept inception through to successful commercialisation. With support from local community members and successful business professionals, The NISER small business incubator program will strive to inspire and encourage business start-ups to boost the local economy.
We understand that the largest obstacle for many new businesses is getting started. The initial plunge can be costly and daunting, making it difficult for entrepreneurs to bring their passion for their product or service to fruition. Their business idea may be a great one, however start-up entrepreneurs often lack the technical skills required to turn their aspiration into a successful venture.
By providing access to facilities, equipment, training and support to start-up companies, the incubator program helps to overcome knowledge gaps and improve the success rate of new and innovative small businesses. With the right support, knowledge and business mindset, the possibilities are infinite regardless of where the physical business operates. There is no limit to the distribution of products, as globalisation continues to be a growing trend across the world.
Mentors will be utilised to provide valuable insights into start-up development. To nurture mindsets, The NISER incubator will also work with local high schools and universities to educate blooming students on what it takes to develop a successful start-up and pursue innovative career options. It will help those students to gain knowledge and skills required in today’s business environment and provide them with the right tools to commence their own business. The NISER incubator will help young people to make a successful transition from study into the workforce.
Whilst some may argue that successful entrepreneurial start-ups may aspire to move towards the big cities once proven successful, studies show otherwise. A University of Michigan study shows that 84% of successful incubator graduates remain close to their local community, boosting local employment and adding economic diversity and a splash of prestige. An additional 2009 study in the US found that for each $10,000 investment, incubators helped create 15 jobs.
It is expected that the results from The NISER incubator will help create sustainable businesses and permanent employment in the rural community of the Pomona as a result of new end successful entrepreneurial ventures. By doing so, we can decrease the elevated unemployment in the areas, which is currently sitting at approximately 4% higher than the national average.
The NISER incubator will also combat pressing issues within the community such as depression and homelessness by increasing business and employment opportunities. The incubation program will improve the prospects for both individual entrepreneurs as well as the community as a whole.
The unemployment rate in Pomona is around 10%, which is considerably higher than the
national average of 6.2%. One of the key contributors is the rising participation rate, as more
people look for work.
Unemployment on a larger scale reduces the quantity of resources and may also reduce the ability of individuals to gain access to those resources. These resources include a variety of items, such as food supplies, healthcare, medical facilities and educational institutions. With limited access to these resources, individuals in communities face barriers such as poor quality education and reduced access to services such as public transportation. Perpetual unemployment can also hamper the opportunity for locals to return to work following a layoff. This can significantly reduce the economic livelihood of a local economy. Unemployment can make people feel psychologically and socially isolated from their peers, making them more likely to engage in deviant and negative activities. In turn, high unemployment rates can reduce the level of safety in communities and can contribute to escalating crime rates.
One of the primary gaps which the NISER incubator is designed to develop is a community that provides opportunities for personal development and employment. To ensure that all community members are empowered to support themselves and their businesses, The NISER incubator will provide its participants advice on how to gain financial backing and business development support. This will provide a platform that the community would not otherwise have access to. By making this incubation program free for all program participants, The NISER will provide access to resources and knowledge that will help kick-start the local Noosa hinterland economy.
Initial Pilot Program Timeline
Business idea development
Development of product, brand and key measures
Development of initial business plan
Develop pitch and further develop product and/or service
Presentation of business
Finalise key brand and marketing strategy
Sales and marketing
Business growth, exit strategy and sustainability
Business launch and Graduation
Structure approach early stage to commercialisation
Continuous support and encouragement
Supportive encouragement to start-ups
Confidence, motivation, education and moral building
Sharing of expertise with other start-up
Collaboration with other start-ups & businesses
Structured facility for building businesses
Seed capital | VC | Crowd- funding
Collaboration with levels of government
Collaboration with Chamber of Commerce & Economic Development Officers
Cost for operation of The NISER
Sponsorship for on average 15 start-ups each 3 mth period
Marketing & Promotion costs
Events & Event Sponsorship
We have divided the whole process into 5 stages to help understand the process of The NISER incubator program.
NISER set up to run a pilot business incubation program over 16 weeks in 2007
NISER will seek sponsorship/grants for the incubator operational costs
The program will be set up to run at the community enterprise Centre located in Pomona with intention to run future programs upon a successful pilot/trial.
Communicating about the program to potential candidates/participants through local media and community newsletters.
Commencing participants av.10 participants
allocate office/workshop space is appropriate for each participant
On-boarding program for the initial NISER incubator program
Provide a relevant program of deliverables for each participant
Introduce specific mentors to participants
Operate 100-day intensive ‘catalytic’ business development project
Incubator participants attend the program as agreed and accomplish tasks
Weekly group meetings and presentations of ideas with other incubator attendees
Mentoring calendar set and actionable
All resources and services provided
Expecting success rate to be 30% develop sustainable businesses
Continue to monitor and support the success of participants
Contribution to the Community
Entrepreneurship is the future of the Australian economy. By supporting small businesses, The NISER incubator works to promote job creation by empowering local entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurship also has the potential to bring about a social change. The mentors and participants at
The NISER incubator can be a part of that change. By supporting these individuals, this initiative will help to create a self-sustainable environment and therefore better contribute to the local economy.
Similar incubator programs in the US have achieved incredible success. In just a few decades the US now boasts over 300 incubator programs that host around 6,000 companies. Communities that house incubators have prospered as a result. A University of Michigan study showed that 84% of successful incubator graduates stay nearby, boosting local employment, economic health and adding a splash of prestige.
Snapshot: The NISER will utilise community connections to access mentors when needed.
The NISER incubator not only strives to develop start-ups and empower locals, we also want to share the experience and knowledge of existing entrepreneurs. Consequently, we value the importance of mentors and all that they offer.
We understand that building and running a small business can be challenging, especially as a first-time entrepreneur or business owner. Under the guidance of a mentor, our entrepreneurs will greatly improve their chances of success, learn from their mistakes, and develop the confidence to become a business community leader.
The NISER is very serious about the talent it plans to breed. The mentorship program will help young entrepreneurs to execute their ideas in the best possible way, whilst cultivate the best leadership and managerial skills.
The NISER will operate at the Community Enterprise Centre, Pomona. Consequently we will access to training, grants, potential crowd-funding and venture capital. By providing mentoring, career development and progression we are investing in the local community. The NISER will create more sustainable businesses and therefore job opportunities and so enhance the economic prospects of the Pomona area.
By providing mentoring for business development and progression we can create more sustainable job opportunities and enhance the economic prospects of the lower socio-economic communities by driving local investment.
The NISER Website: www.niser.org.au
The NISER Incubator blog will be a platform for sharing information with the community and on-boarding potential candidates for the program.
Proposed Blogging examples:
Getting the community on-board for progress
Starting from nothing and making it something – takes determination
Young people in Pomona can choose entrepreneurship
What will your story be?
The NISER Incubator is the start-up hub for Pomona Entrepreneurs
Key to the development and high performance of any modern start-up is technological support. Not only will all participating entrepreneurs have access to mentoring and business development support,
The NISER incubator program will ensure that its entrepreneurs are equipped with the technology it needs to successfully launch their businesses.
As a cornerstone of this initiative, The NISER has developed an arrangement with new web development company Sidebar Technology (Andrew Lausen) to provide free access to initial website development for incubator participants.
Features of The NISER Incubator Program are access to:
‘On boarding’ of start-ups includes expectations, KPI’s, culture, resources and administration.
‘Resources’ includes blogging guides, training, free technologies including social media, project management, finance, etc.
‘Training’ includes access to free learning and development programs.
‘Social media’ includes the “how-to” guide for social media and all key influencers in Australia.
‘Events’ includes the listing of business events in the area and relevant webinars.
‘Blogs’ includes notifications for The NISER incubator blog as well as other entrepreneurial blogs.
‘Grants’ includes lists of government grants and assistance with applications
‘Marketing’ includes marketing resources and templates, “how to” guides, etc.
‘Mentors’ includes the listing of mentors and contacts and their areas of specialty.
‘Progress’ includes the step-by-step progress chart for the individual’s start-up.
‘Sponsors’ includes the listing of all sponsors and how start-ups can support them.
Pomona Expenses Budget 2016 (Pilot Program)
The NISER development program will provide invaluable training and support for local people with entrepreneurial aspirations to kick-start their own businesses. This opportunity will empower many people to change their lives and allow them to bring their business dreams to fruition.
With the support of the sponsors and the community, The NISER will ensure that each of its entrepreneurial candidates are provided with the right tools, resources and mentors to set them up for success. Without sponsorships this program will not be able to achieve its goals. By investing in The NISER Incubator program you are investing in the future of local business and the sustainable development of a brighter future for the Noosa Hinterland Region.