This is the most exciting time for startups ever in Charters Towers and as we all work together as a team, we are hoping that something monumental is about to occur, and that means startup S-U-C-C-E-S-S.
Never before has Charters Towers been on the cusp of change like it is today. While it's been part of our history to be known for agriculture, mining and tourism - what is going to make the biggest difference and provide a sustainable future for Charters Towers is entrepreneurship.
The announcement of successful startups in the incubator is exciting, but doesn't mean that the door is closed. We invite other entrepreneurs and startups to come and use the premises to get their businesses off the ground. This is a community venture, not a personal one. The reason we have made it not-for-profit is to give the Charters Towers community a chance to re-invent itself as startup central, without making someone else who is not living in the town rich.
It really is all about you. Invite your children to come in after school, share ideas and maybe give a helping hand to some of the entrepreneurs in the building. See what they are doing and how they are doing it. Participate and learn. It will be the best education you will ever receive, that I promise.
I had the pleasure of seeing Ryan Holmes, the founder of Hootsuite, speak in New York last week. You may not know who he is, but I suggest you look him up. He bootstrapped, on the smell of an oily rag Hootsuite purely out of frustration that he could not post all of his social media accounts at the same time when he wanted to whether he was awake or asleep. Now he has a billion dollar company and a great story to share.
This can happen to anyone in Charters Towers. It is not out of your reach. Do you think he knew how to write code when he came up with Hootsuite? The answer is no.
No two journeys as a business owner are the same. The only thing consistent is to build a business that doesn't just exist but grows with BIG in mind.
Remember to always educate yourself and through the internet, this is now very possible.
Don't be afraid to ask questions, even from people you don't know. Good people are happy to share their stories and inspire others to greatness.
Use crowdfunding if need be. It's easy to access and with the right story, you may just be very successful in raising enough capital to do what you need to do.
Keep believing that anything is possible. Don't ever get stuck in your ways. Remember Kodak when you have built a business, so that you never forget to keep on innovating and changing with the times. Invest your time, energy and persistence in what you believe in. Don't let a setback take you away from achieving your end goal. And always remember that you are not alone.
Mellissah Smith is the Chairperson of The World Incubator, a not-for-profit business incubator in rural Queensland. Currently the incubator is situation in Wherry House in Charters Towers, North Queensland and houses 10 startups. The World Incubator is host to North Queensland’s largest entrepreneurs conference with all proceeds going to helping rural and regional startups and farmers. Book tickets on www.nqecon.com.au.
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