Wayne Webster of Webster Surfboards in Ballina.
Wayne Webster of Webster Surfboards in Ballina. Jay Cronan

Mentoring helps shape success

IF you want to ride a wave of success, then business mentoring is the way to go.

Surfboard maker Wayne Webster from Lennox Head is one young local business owner who has benefited from mentoring programs.

"When you start a business you realise that it's not just about your product knowledge and paying the bills," he said.

"The mentoring program gave me real insight into my business and dealing with long-term strategic issues."

Right now, the Young Entrepreneurs Business Mentoring Program, based in Byron Bay, is looking for young business owners to take part in an initiative aimed at developing local businesses.

The program is a partnership between NSW Trade & Investment and ACE Community Colleges.

Mr Webster has been shaping and riding his own boards for over 20 years and 18 months ago set up his Webster Surfboards workshop in Ballina.

He sells his custom-made boards to surfers in Australia, Japan and Taiwan, including big-wave surfer Mark Visser who staged a night surfing event at the notorious Jaws break in Hawaii last January.

Mr Webster gets 90% of his blanks shaped by a computer numerically controlled (CNC) machine in Byron Bay.

He then hand finishes the boards prior to sending them back to Byron Bay for final fibreglassing.

In recent times many Australian surfboard makers have been adversely affected by a wave of cheap Chinese surfboards swamping the local market.

But the cheaper imports have not affected Mr Webster's business.

"I shape custom boards for individuals, so I am not competing in the mass market," he said.

"But in the Australian surf industry I would still like to see surf equipment made by Australian surfers."

The Young Entrepreneurs Business Mentoring Program is open to Northern Rivers-based business owners aged 18-35 who have been operating for at least one year.

They should also be able to identify a business challenge they need assistance with.

The program will take place in Byron Bay commencing March 2012.

Places are limited and applications close Friday, February 17.

To apply to be part of the program or to be a mentor visit www.acecolleges.edu.au and download the relevant application packs.

For further information or inquiries about the program, contact Belinda Green at the NSW Department of Trade and Investment on 02 6622 4011or email belinda .green@business.nsw.gov.au.

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