Artist Jules Hunt (front centre) with co-ordinator of the Golden Gurus program, Paul Jameson (at left) and mentor Peter Bowen.
Artist Jules Hunt (front centre) with co-ordinator of the Golden Gurus program, Paul Jameson (at left) and mentor Peter Bowen.

There's gold in that silver hair

CALLING all oldies – your depth of business experience is needed.

That’s the plea from NORTEC, which in conjunction with Southern Cross University, are seeking experienced business people who can volunteer to mentor small Northern Rivers-based businesses.

Co-ordinator of the Golden Gurus mentoring program Paul Jameson said the region was rich with retired and semi-retired professionals who have a wealth of knowledge that can be passed on to the next generation of entrepreneurs.

“There is a lot of retired and semi-retired people whose time is a little under-utilised,” he said.

“They had been heavily engaged in business and they come up here and find all this time on their hands. Mentoring is very stimulating for them and they can help to grow the region.”

He said finding mentors to get the program started was the “number one target at the moment”.

“Finding mentorees for the program is easy - they come out of the woodwork, but finding mentors is a bit more of a challenge.”

Once the program starts it will run for six months and the mentors will be given training and support.

They don’t need to have any experience in mentoring.

The program follows a successful trial that put many runs on the board.

Byron-based earthenware artist Jules Hunt, who participated in the trial, said it helped put her gallery on a firm financial footing and allowed her to take on a trainee.

“My business was at a point where I really needed help and guidance,” she said.

“A lot of our discussions were about time management, distribution and production processes.”

“Having an older mentor has been great because they have more wisdom and ability to step back and focus on your business.”

Retired chemical engineer Peter Bowen, who previously worked in the corporate world for Sydney-based sugar and building materials giant CSR, moved to the Northern Rivers 10 years ago.

He said participating in the trial program was more enjoyable than spending hours on the golf course.

“I enjoy giving something back to the community,” he said.

“This region has a huge number of people who have retired who have great business skills so I would encourage them to consider becoming a mentor and help start-up businesses,” he said.

To participate in the program email paul@rdrescue.com.au



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