There is a future for young people in regional Australia, and an innovative program in the North East is helping create a new mindset for sustainable job creation. Independent Member for Indi, Cathy McGowan AO, officially opened the Australian Centre for Rural (ACRE) entrepreneurship in Beechworth and declared herself proud to be ACRE’s first patron.
Ms McGowan said ACRE CEO Matt Pfahlert and the ACRE team had established a sustainable job creation model that would help rural and regional communities thrive, and retain young people in the area.
“It’s wonderful to have this program in North East Victoria, teaching young people entrepreneurship and helping them to identify opportunities and create their own businesses,” Ms McGowan said. “Blooming where you’re planted is still relevant, and this culture will be the model for the 21st century.”
About 450 students in 11 schools across the North East have been part of the Social Enterprise in Schools pilot program. The program encourages primary school students to create jobs with a component of giving back to the community.
“This is giving the students a taste of the excitement of being self-employed and then making a difference in their community,” Ms McGowan said.
Mr Pfahlert said the ACRE idea had been in the pipeline for a number of years, and harnessing the skills, talent and knowledge in regional Australia would lead to successful enterprises.
“It all came about trying to find a way to make our rural communities become thriving again,” he said. “
McGowan welcomed the youth entrepreneurship initiatives in the 2016-17 Federal Budget. This included the expansion of the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme, and the Self-Employment Starter Pack and Inclusive Entrepreneurship Facilitators. These programs would support the ACRE work being done in Indi.
“I worked closely with ACRE and Assistant Minister for Innovation, Wyatt Roy, to ensure the Government understands the importance of these programs to regional communities,” Ms McGowan said.
For more information, visit the ACRE website.