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Two women standing in front of USQ sign
Professor Retha Wiesner (USQ School of Management and Enterprise & Australian Centre for Sustainable Business and Development) and Dr Aastha Malhotra (Institute for Resilient Regions)
A University of Southern Queensland (USQ) program to empower women through entrepreneurship, innovation and business sustainability will be held throughout Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria this month.

Professor Retha Wiesner, from USQ’s School of Management and Enterprise, is coordinating the three-week training and development program, linking successful Australian women entrepreneurs and leaders with a group from Nepal and Bangladesh.

It all gets underway at USQ Springfield on Monday (November 9), before heading to Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Melbourne, Sydney, Toowoomba, and the Gold Coast.

Professor Wiesner said the group consisted of female entrepreneurial leaders and male champions of change from Bangladesh and Nepal.

“This is a tailor-made program aimed at building knowledge, skills and capabilities,” she said.

“The participants have been carefully selected and are well placed to apply new skills, knowledge and networks to advance issues in the two countries.

“This is of particular importance given the difficulties people, especially women, experience in progressing their businesses in the face of challenges. For example, Nepal is currently rebuilding after devastating earthquakes.”

The participants are from three partner organisations: the Bangladesh Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BWCCI), the Centre for Entrepreneurship Development (CED) at BRAC University, and the Industrial Enterprise Development Institute (IEDI).

At each Australian location, the group will participate in workshops, hear presentations, and visit successful entrepreneurial firms.

Topics will include: opportunity development tools; self-efficacy and emotional intelligence; decision-making skills through planned strategies; digital communication strategies; disability-inclusive strategies; and initiatives, action plans and project frameworks.

Professor Wiesner said the overall aim of the program was to enhance gender equality in a business context, empower women and improve the success of women entrepreneurs around the world.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) funded project is a collaboration between USQ research bodies: Institute for Resilient Regions (IRR); Australian Centre for Sustainable Business and Development (ACSBD); and International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences (ICACS).

The project leaders are Professor Wiesner (ACSBD), Dr Aastha Malhotra (IRR), and Dr Shahbaz Mushtaq (ICACS).

Presentations throughout the program will feature many speakers, including: Professor Julie Cotter (Director, Australian Centre for Sustainable Business and Development); Michel Hogan (Founder, Brandology); Cynthia Balogh (National Manager, Women in Global Business); and Yolanda Vega (Executive Director, Australian Women Chamber of Commerce & Industry (AWCCI)).