The future of work in the Riverina Creating more opportunities for the next generation
Many a business owner has a big, hairy audacious goal, whether it’s to finally land that dream client, or to hit that magic number in terms of revenue. As a business community, Wagga Wagga itself has a big, hairy audacious goal: to create 100 startups in the Riverina by 2020.
The community is working to demonstrate that there’s never been a better time to start a business in the region – and the evidence to back them is there.
The rollout of the National Broadband Network is cutting down the tyranny of distance, enabling residents to join and seek out new opportunities in the digital economy, while for those times that a meeting in a metro city can’t be helped, Wagga Wagga is home to an airport servicing frequent flights to Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane.
The push for 100 by 2020 is being supported by the likes of Simone Eyles, founder of cafe order-ahead app 365 Cups, incubator program Incubate at 35 Degrees, and Wagga Wagga coworking community Working Spaces HQ, which was established with the assistance of an Entrepreneur’s Grant from Beyond Bank.
Working Spaces HQ has been home to a number of the region’s growing businesses over the last year.
Working from the space through the Incubate at 35 Degrees program was Pointer, a jobs platform connecting regionally-based job seekers with employers and recruiters advertising remote roles.
The idea for Pointer came to founder Joanna Palmer when she considered her own experiences on both sides of the problem, having been in the past a remote job seeker and an employer posting remote jobs. Seeing a wealth of talent going wasted in the regions, Palmer believed that, with the internet easily connecting people to the city, there is no reason why roles can’t be performed remotely.
Also working from the Riverina to connect regional Australians is Adam Drummond with his online television service, WaggaWagga.tv.
As major national news services and networks began cutting down their regional coverage, the WaggaWagga.tv station was founded in 2014, streaming a daily news bulletin, weekend sports events, original content, and local regional events through its online platform.
Seeing the positive effect WaggaWagga.tv has had on the Riverina community, the business announced earlier this month it will be expanding its coverage, launching new stations for towns including Dubbo, Broken Hill, Orange, Townsville, Griffith, Forster, and Mount Gambier.
The Riverina is proving that there’s more to regional innovation than agricultural technology, but of course, its agritech businesses are also creating interesting solutions to problems they have faced.
AgTribe, for example, was founded by farmer Andy Stevens to connect other farmers to equipment for hire, eliminating the need for borrowers to spend big on equipment they do not always need and allowing lenders to make some extra cash.