LIGHTING up a new era of Byron-style social and business entrepreneurship in radically changing times was the aim of a business and community forum held at the Byron Bay Community Centre on Friday.
Hosted by Byron Shire Council, the Invested in Byron event featured local inventor and entrepreneur Cedar Anderson of Flow Hive fame, alongside futurist Mark McCrindle and population forecasting systems entrepreneur Ivan Motley.
Byron Shire mayor Simon Richardson said the event signalled a new phase of cooperation between the council, business and the community to support Byron to change proactively with the times.
Cr Richardson said the new attitude was about the council "shaking hands not fists" with businesses which had Byron's best interests at heart.
'We really are all in this together," he said.
Cr Richardson cited the tourism sector, with which the council had recently become actively engaged with to help "shape tourism" to ensure the tourism experiences on offer reflected Byron's broad values.
Futurist and demographic expert Mark McCrindle told The Northern Star that providing new work opportunities for young people was a key challenge faced by Byron Shire and the wider region.
While the Northern Rivers offered lifestyle benefits, the cities outgunned them with superior job choice and educational options, with one in two of "Generation Z" expected to attend university.
But small businesses could partially stem this flow by creating space for young people to contribute where possible, Mr McCrindle said.
That might depend on them being innovative and looking for new opportunities outside the region.
"We've reached the point where over the next decade a lot for baby boomers are going to ease out of those family owned businesses, and it's those 20 or 30-somethings which are going to take over the bat," he said.