Kimmaree Thompson
Kimmaree Thompson

Entrepreneurs need more incentives to employ staff

LAST week, I was in Alice Springs for the Sustainable Economic Growth for Regional Australia conference. This week-long conference covered the practical and strategic policy issues for regional Australia.

One of the strong themes that emerged from the gathering was the importance of fostering a regional innovation and entrepreneurial spirit as a positive way to "grow your own" regional employment.

When a young entrepreneur enjoys business success, it brings dynamism and excitement to a community, and acts as inspiration to others - an important issue in our region where one in three children grow up in a household where both parents are unemployed. It also creates local jobs.

The August 2014 unemployment rate in Northern Rivers NSW was 8.3% in the Richmond to Tweed area, and 7.3% in Coffs Harbour to Grafton.

This is significantly higher than the NSW average of 5.6% and the Regional NSW average of 6.7%. Of those who are employed, 14.1% work less than 15 hours a week.

Our region is doing well in entrepreneurialism, and we must focus on ways to support these entrepreneurial ventures to grow so they can employ more people.

* KIMMAREE THOMPSON is the CEO of Regional Development Australia (Northern Rivers), a non-profit organisation funded by Federal and State governments as a catalyst for regional growth and innovation.

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