How a support service is helping small businesses to thrive
First, there were sea-changers and tree-changers. Now, there are VESPAs.
An acronym for Virus Escapees Seeking Provincial Australia, VESPA was coined by
the demographer, Bernard Salt, as a celebration of the reversal of traditional flow of
talent from regional Australia to the cities.
Natasha Fair relocated from Melbourne to Byron Bay to start her business, Ayusa,
which offers guayusa tea sustainably grown in the Amazon.
Ms Fair spent months in Ecuador researching and forming relationships with farmers.
"I didn't want to return to the rat race," she said.
"I knew that after Ecuador we were going to move to the Byron Shire."
Natasha's move came before COVID-19 but is an example that many will now follow.
One of the keys to Ayusa's successful launch, in October 2020, was Natasha's
decision to seek business coaching and support.
She will always be grateful to a friend for forwarding an email about Build Grow Run,
one of 23 Australian Government appointed Entrepreneur Facilitators based around
For nearly a year prior to launch, Natasha met as often as weekly with Entrepreneurship Facilitator, Ellie Corley.
The service is offered free to business owners.
"Starting a business from scratch is hard work," Ms Fair said.
"I quickly realised just how many roles I would be filling."
The support from Build Grow Run helped her understand strengths, have confidence to outsource, adapt to challenges and develop crucial marketing skills.
"If, like I did, you start questioning whether your new business idea is worth continuing with, my advice is to keep going and ensure you have support around you," she said.
She is one of 10 business owners who have shared their stories in an ebook
launched by Build Grow Run on their second anniversary.
Available to download from buildgrowrun.com.au, the book covers brand new businesses through to those who have decades of experience.
Whether you are a VESPA or a long-time local, Build Grow Run can offer support if your business is based between Lennox Head, Tweed and inland to Murwillumbah and Bangalow.
Businesses outside this area can find their local service at https://www.employment.gov.au/entrepreneurship-facilitators.