ENTREPRENEURIALISM needs to be encouraged in rural and regional Australia, Ballarat’s business leaders were told on Wednesday.
And rural Australia needed to celebrate those who remain in regional areas rather than those who leave.
Some of the country’s most influential business leaders and commentators delivered presentations to more than 200 small and medium business leaders at the 2014 Commerce Ballarat Business Day Out at Creswick’s Novotel Resort.
Those who attended heard presentations from professional business mentor Russ Wylie, KPMG partner Bernard Salt and director of Mind Life Clinic Damien Adler.
The forum was headlined by Network Ten executive general manager Russel Howcroft, who appears on ABC1’s Gruen Transfer.
Mr Salt spoke of the importance of regional agriculture and its role in Australia’s economy.
“I’m not convinced the family farm is the right model. The product will be there, dairy, meat, but we need there to be corporate farms,” he said.
“At the moment there is the flight of youth to the capital cities.
“Rural Australia needs a culture of entrepreneurialism ... this fits the culture of Gen Y.”
He outlined the need for regional centres to focus on celebrating successful people who remain in their community.
“Rural Australians celebrate those who have left, we should be celebrating those who have stayed. The mindset has to change,” Mr Salt said.
Commerce Ballarat CEO Jodie Gillet said the forum gave regional business owners a chance to learn from speakers of a high calibre.
“It’s to try and give regional business opportunities,” she said. “It forces them to step away for a day for professional development and to engage with 200 other business people.”
Ms Gillet said a primary focus for the progression of business in Ballarat was on the development of the Civic Hall site.
“We need to get a critical mass. One of the major focuses is to get the Civic Hall site activated to stimulate other retail and hospitality venues,” she said.