How to Switch On, Start and Grow an Entrepreneurial Community: Case Study from Australia – SXSW PanelPicker

Could you please Vote Up this PanelPicker session for #SXSW in #Austin 2024 by clicking on this link, signing in and casting your vote? It is titled, “How to Switch On, Start & Grow an Entrepreneurial Community”, and showcases many of you with the success of entrepreneurs and founders from South Australia, over the past 4.5 years, inspiring, igniting and guiding some 14,000 people, in their quest to achieve business success. Thank you so much – here is the link:

“The work Wendy and Scott do is amazing, they helped me find my confidence when starting several new businesses in South Australia and they were always willing to help pitch-in despite both having very busy schedules.  Their events are inspiring and filled with real stories of businesses finding their way in SA.  Not afraid of hard yakka and doing great work for all the right reasons.  Bravo both!”

The Entrepreneur Facilitation Services for Adelaide, South Australia (one of 23 locations across Australia funded by the Federal Government), provided by Switch Start Scale over the past 4.5 years (1 January 2019 – 30 June 2023), has built an inclusive entrepreneurial community supporting inspiring, igniting, and guiding some 14 000 clients through and out of the pandemic.  It involves working alongside people switching to new business ideas, startups and scaleups, standout businesses, those aiming for sustainable growth, those who are self-employed, those with side hustles, people who are self-employed and subcontractors.

This research follows the activities of Switch Start Scale, showcasing entrepreneurs and founders, startups, scaleups and small business success.  Demonstrating how remarkable outcomes can be achieved through mentoring and coaching services, promotion and events, networks and referrals, stakeholder relationship management and implementing business growth strategies and action plans, despite challenging economic and personal situations.

It was a tumultuous time, with South Australia ravaged by bushfires in 2019, and then disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic with associated lockdowns and border closures between 2020 and 2021, followed by floods, labour shortages, rising energy prices and increased costs to live and do business during the recovery from the pandemic moving into 2022 and 2023.

Like a live training needs analysis, working 1 on 1 with 10-20 clients each week, the profile of clients may be different to what you might expect, and this insight fed into development activities such as events, growth hacks, tours, webinars, and workshops.

Client profile at a glance – predominantly female (69%), mature age persons  (54%), although most were closer to 45 years than over 60 years.  Many were single parents from marginalised groups, looking for a means to support themselves financially while balancing caring responsibilities, and 32% were unemployed.

The top 3 barriers perceived to being a successful entrepreneur were consistent across the first 3 years which were: a lack of business experience, poor literacy (which was consistent with 37% of clients being from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse backgrounds), and a lack of knowledge of where to get support.

Follow the journey of diverse clients and Switch Start Scale through cancelled and rescheduled face to face events, transitions to online delivery, nimble service changes to cater for an increased demand in digital literacy skills during the 2020-21 lockdown periods and leveraging national and international online speakers during the pandemic peak, to facing rising costs of living and potential recession in 2023.

Contact Wendy Perry, Founder, Switch Start Scale for details of the full paper and/or for keynote presentations.

P: +61 416 150 491



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