By Brian Ruddle, Impact Innovation Group.
Entrepreneurs in regional Australia often don’t have access to the services and support networks of their counterparts in capital cities and major centres.
When starting out, city-based entrepreneurs get information and inspiration from co-working spaces, attending networking and pitch events, and generally participating in ecosystem activities. Over time, they can test their ideas out on others and get assistance with shaping their start-up ventures.
In regional Australia, entrepreneurs have to work a bit smarter to access support.
Let’s look at what a new entrepreneur does. They generally start with an idea they think will be successful. Then they find out if the idea is unique or at least unique for the target market; develop and test prototypes; establish a business model; identify how to manufacture or distribute the product; and develop an associated revenue model. The focus often then moves quickly to capital raising to help the enterprise grow.
Online tools can help regional entrepreneurs stay on track. Here are four platform types to try:
- Finding/Refining Ideas: As well as Google searches, there are dedicated sites to help find and refine ideas, including Enterprise Access, Springwise, and Yet2.com. These sources offer insights into ideas and technologies that could compete with or enhance your plans. Knowing what’s on the horizon in your industry helps gauge if an idea is worth developing.
- Raising Capital: In Australia there’s TechFundr for start-up crowdfunding, Pozible for product/service crowdfunding, and Gust, a platform used by many investment Angel groups. Government websites also list funding opportunities, like this one: www.business.gov.au/assistance/results?q=business
- Collaboration: LinkedIn groups, GitHub, slack and yammer allow you to tap into brain banks, seek help, ask questions and contribute to a community. The key with collaboration tools is that they need some effort to get the most out of them. That’s how active participants build their profiles and networks as well as their knowledge.
- Innovation Management: For corporates, there are a number of systems for managing innovation and engaging with remote and dispersed workers, including Brightidea, Spigit and Crowdicity.
With tools like these, regional entrepreneurs are no longer subject to the ‘tyranny of distance’.