The University of Southern Queensland (USQ) is helping break down barriers for women in business in rural, remote and regional parts of Australia in its new program, Women in Rural, Remote, Regional Enterprises (WiRE). Next week, women from across Queensland will have the chance to bring their ideas to the table, joining other female entrepreneurs, mentors and trainers for a concentrated two days of learning, development and support at a ‘business boot camp’ at Airlie Beach.

The program promotes and cultivates entrepreneurship and innovation, encouraging women to follow their business and career dreams. Through these workshops, women will discover how to progress their entrepreneurial journey by participating in interactive group sessions. Participants will learn how to apply entrepreneurial skills, and will receive support from experienced facilitators and mentors.

USQ researcher and WiRE Program Director Professor Retha Wiesner said there was a huge opportunity to boost Australia’s entrepreneurial capacity, as nearly half of all new ventures are founded in rural, regional or remote areas, yet only 2.4 per cent of these are founded by women.She says that women in regions outside metropolitan areas often face major hurdles in business, including lack of assistance, mentoring, information, technology and learning facilities available to them.

“They will have the opportunity to grow and accelerate their business ideas or community ventures through a practical, experiential activity-based growth retreat,” Professor Wiesner said. “They will leave knowing how to construct and innovate a business model, assess product feasibility, and successfully articulate their ideas and vision. It’s suitable not only for women who are aspiring entrepreneurs or seasoned entrepreneurs with a new idea, but also an executive or volunteer looking to bring entrepreneurial thinking into their workplace or organisation.”

The WiRE program is run in partnership with the Queensland Rural Regional and Remote Women’s Network (QRRRWN), Startup Toowoomba, Fire Station 101, and funded by the Federal Government. The Airlie Beach Bootcamp is financially supported by the Queensland Government through its Advancing Women in Business (AWB) initiative.