The search is on for business, industry and export specialists who can volunteer as Fraser Coast’s newest business mentors, with registrations closing at the end of October.
Minister for Employment and Small Business Di Farmer said the impact of COVID-19 was being felt by small businesses on the Fraser Coast and across the state, and that experienced business professionals could help support them.
“We know that the best thing we can do for small businesses is keep our economy growing, do everything we can to ensure any lockdowns are short and sharp, and keep them open and trading,” Minister Farmer said.
“Our strong health response has allowed us to do that, and of course we are now on a huge vaccination push so we can open up to interstate travellers.”
Member for Maryborough, Bruce Saunders, said the government knew the impact of COVID-19 was being felt.
“That’s why we’ve provided a range of financial support and that’s why we put backing small business at the heart of the Palaszczuk Government’s $14.5 COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan,” Mr Saunders said.
“But often what businesses really need is that one on one mentoring, someone who can walk alongside them and help with specific challenges and opportunities.
“That’s where our Mentoring for Growth program comes in.”
Member for Hervey Bay, Adrian Tantari said the government was on the lookout for more of Queensland’s brightest business minds to help small business owners.
“Mentoring for Growth is a free program for Queensland small businesses that provides access to a state-wide pool of mentors who are matched to businesses based on their skills and knowledge,” Mr Tantari said.
“In the last financial year, 95 per cent of mentees said that their business reported a projected increase in either employment, turnover or profitability following their session.
“With more businesses seeking advice as they adapt to new ways of operating, more mentors are needed across the state including here in the Fraser Coast region.”
Mentoring for Growth is part of the Palaszczuk Government’s Big Plans for Small Business Strategy and helps small business grow by increasing skills, capability, and identifying opportunities.
Hervey Bay’s Michael Wall, Director of Australian Mentoring and Finance Centre and a volunteer mentor for 17 years, said it was very rewarding to be able to contribute to the overall success of small business in Queensland.
“I have found that participants are looking for guidance and solutions to problems they can’t facilitate themselves, so this is a wonderful opportunity to give back to the business community that needs help,” Mr Wall said.
“The learning curve about yourself, your business, and what people expect from you is steep, but there is no other place that all these are bought together in such a way that your free time is repaid multiple times over.
“It’s rewarding to be able to help participants find solutions and see where it takes them in the future.
“This is why I have stayed involved for so long and continue to enjoy it.”
Minister Farmer encouraged other business owners on Fraser Coast to get involved in mentoring.
“I encourage experienced businessmen and women who know what it’s like to start and grow a business, or who have a specific skillset they can share – just like Michael – to contribute to the success of other Fraser Coast businesses and nominate to be a mentor,” Minister Farmer said.
Mentor registrations close on 31 October. More information is available at www.business.qld.gov.au/mentoring
Media contact: Kate Talbot, 0439 803 211