A vibrant region, with amazing people

It’s all about business this Small Business Month with a calendar jam packed with events from Tweed to Grafton, including the 2019 Northern Rivers Regional Business Awards on Saturday 19 October in Ballina.

It would be fair to say that I have shook hands (or hugged) close to a thousand people over the past few weeks, maybe more. Not that I was actually counting, but what I did notice was how energised people were. 

Seeing people connect and share their stories and lessons learned, celebrate being a finalist or working out how they can do business together made for a very happy Regional Manager.

Northern Rivers Regional Business Awards

Congratulations Northern Rivers! With a record number of entries into the Northern Rivers Regional Business Awards this year, it was always going to be a big night of celebration and it really was. 

With 107 finalist entries, 21 award presentations and entertainment from up and coming young band the Buckley’s, it was the night of nights. For a full list of winners and photos click here.

Our state aligned category winners will now head to Sydney for the State Awards on 22 November to represent the Northern Rivers. We will be cheering them on!

Small Business Month

The Northern Rivers Small Business Month calendar of events was a huge success, both the four page feature pull out in the Northern Star and the online version.

A huge thank you to everyone who contributed to the month with hosted events or partnerships and a special thank you to our Regional Coordinator, Samantha Mearns who pulled all the details together. 

You can join us this Friday (25 October) for the thinkingFORWARD Luncheon and Panel session on the Northern Rivers – a Global Technology Region. It will be a high energy event with amazing insights into our capacity and capability as a region for investment attraction. 

Click here for a full list of panel speakers who will be there on the day.

Developing a regional brand: a collaboration iniative  

Creative, relaxed, colourful and active. These are a few of the key words to describe the Northern Rivers, home to 250,000 people and some of the most beautiful landscapes in Australia.

Over the course of 2019 a Northern Rivers Brand Steering Committee, a regional collaboration initiative, have been working together to develop a new regional brand for our collective community to embrace and celebrate locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. The committee comprised of representatives from:
  • Regional NSW
  • NSW Business Chamber Northern Rivers
  • RDA Northern Rivers
  • Destination North Coast
  • Northern Rivers Joint Organisation
  • Northern Rivers Food
  • Northern Co-operative Meat Company
  • Southern Cross University.
Thank you to those NSW Business Chamber and Local Chamber Members who participated in the branding forum, held at SCU’s Enterprise Lab in May, and in subsequent focus groups.

The Ad Agency, based in Lismore, who were engaged to facilitate the process, took the findings from these consultative forums and presented their report to the Northern Rivers Brand Steering Committee in July.

The agency assigned character traits to our region as though “Northern Rivers” is a person. If that person was sitting beside you, they would impress you as being full of life, a creative thinker, colourful, open-hearted, values-driven as well as a person who speaks their truth and loves nature. What’s not to like?

The Ad Agency’s report also articulated any regional brand is a sum of its parts. Here in the Northern Rivers we prioritise nature and connecting with community. These are the central ways in which we describe ourselves along with strong references to our food, our culture, our lifestyle and our enterprise. These elements add together to make our brand essence.

Since receiving the Ad Agency’s report the Steering Committee has been developing a business plan, with a strong focus on investment attraction, visitor attraction, population migration and food provenance, while the Ad Agency push on to meld these traits and essence into a creative representation.

There’ll be more to tell you about this exciting project in coming weeks, but I can tell you that this work will be transformational in terms of how we position and present ourselves as a region. 

If you are interested in learning more please just drop me a line via email at jane.laverty@nswbc.com.au or call 0419 260 220.

Commonwealth Budget ideas for NSW Business Chamber pre-budget submissions

As you know, advocacy is a critical part of the work NSW Business Chamber undertakes to support our members.

Over the year, we make many submissions to State and Federal Government agencies on policy issues, in order to champion changes that enable our businesses to growth and thrive. 

Investment in enabling infrastructure, skills and employment support as well as business investment programs (such as R&D and innovation) are among the areas we look at to help businesses thrive. 

We would like your feedback for anything you would like to see in the Commonwealth Budget, as the Government normally calls for pre-budget submissions in November/December. 

I am really happy to have a conversation about this one and welcome a call any time.

How are you going to round out 2019 and get ready for 2020?

I’m a big believer in celebrating your wins, chalking up the lessons learnt and reflecting on the next steps. And there’s no better time to do this than as we head towards the end of one year and the beginning of the next. 

Next year – 2020 – is milestone year so it deserves milestone goals. Think about getting your team together (or your business champions) for this purpose and get yourself ‘2020 ready’. 

Yours in business


Jane Laverty – Regional Manager Northern Rivers, NSW Business Chamber