Not-for-profit organisation Runway has appointed a new managing director to lead its vision of supporting entrepreneurs and growing regional economies.
Linda Wong has worked at Runway since 2018 and will take on the leadership role following the death of chief executive and co-founder Peter Dostis in January.
"I am really enthusiastic that we are building on a strong foundation Pete has left for us and that we can take his vision forward," she said.
Runway has co-working spaces in Geelong and Ballarat and offers experiential learning programs to help entrepreneurs start up their business or grow and pivot their business.
I am really enthusiastic that we are building on a strong foundation Pete has left for us and that we can take his vision forward.Linda Wong
The organisation partners within regional cities to build economies and 'ecosystems'.
Ms Wong has been working with Federation University to co-design and deliver a new Master of Business Administration (MBA) based on experiential learning, a topic she is completing a PhD on.
"I am really proud about being able to do that because it hasn't been done elsewhere yet," she said.
Runway is also partnering with Commerce Ballarat to deliver the Ready, Set, Grow to help business leaders grow their business, an opportunity associated with the Ballarat Business Awards.
Ms Wong first met Mr Dostis before Runway had launched its first psychical office in Geelong, in search of supports for start up businesses.
At the time she was leaving an executive role to set up a charity and went on to participate in the first Runway entrepreneur program in 2016.
With a background in strategic management and training, Ms Wong said she gave feedback to Mr Dostis on the program and ended up being asked to work with him to develop it.
Ms Wong joined Runway in 2018 and worked to develop strategy with Mr Dostis and set up the Ballarat office.
"I have been there from the beginning and seen the challenges and the good parts of the journey because it is never an easy journey to get something off the ground and to expand it to what it is now," she said.
Ms Wong said she would continue to work on expanding the original vision to focus on offering experiential learning and building communities and partnerships, all with an underlying focus on entrepreneurship.
She said Runway's relationship with Federation University was growing stronger and there would continue to be expansion of program delivery across regional areas in the state.
"After we have seen what COVID has done to our businesses and the economy, it has given us an even bigger push to make things work and to be part of a journey for a lot of people to help them get back onto their feet, because that is what is going to help anybody to get through this," she said.
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