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Free program to help businesses rebuild from COVID-19

University of Southern Queensland supporting rural and regional business women.

Like thousands of business owners across the country, Danielle Gordon has taken a big hit during the coronavirus pandemic.

She estimates her mobile wood-fired catering service, Flaming Good, will lose tens of thousands of dollars in business.

Despite the setback, Ms Gordon is confident her business will not only survive the crisis but rebound quickly with help from a free business development program by the University of Southern Queensland (USQ).

She is among hundreds of women who have registered for the program designed to support women looking to rebuild their business in the face of COVID-19.

“The first couple of weeks after lockdown restrictions were enforced was quite difficult,” Ms Gordon said.

“We had to cancel or postpone every event. There were some days I felt incredibly deflated and concerned about what it would mean for my business.

“Running your own business is incredibly rewarding, but it’s also full of challenges and hurdles, and this is just one them.”

Having not given up on her business, an optimistic Ms Gordon, who lives in Millmerran, west of Toowoomba, has used the break to re-evaluate and think about the future.

That led her to sign up for ‘Reset and Re-imagine your Business’, the latest initiative by USQ’s WiRE (Women in Rural, Regional and Remote Enterprises) program which supports and empowers women in rural and remote areas to achieve their entrepreneurial and business aspirations.

Delivered fully online, it includes three free events – a workshop series, starting tomorrow (June 4), a two-day boot camp (June 13-14) and a 12-week entrepreneurial hub challenge (July 10-September 25), which also gives participants the opportunity to study one of USQ’s UpSkill mini courses at no cost.

Ms Gordon, who has registered for the boot camp and challenge, hoped the events would help her identify and use the right technology and resources she needed to grow her business, as well as support her community during these challenging times.

“I want to make sure I have some recovery strategies and long-term plans in place that will help drive my business forward once restrictions have lifted and we can start operating again,” she said.

WiRE program director Professor Retha Wiesner said participants would have access to practical tools, expertise, group mentoring and one-on-one coaching.

“While some businesses have struggled or forced to adapt during the coronavirus pandemic, it’s important business owners know that these times also present many new opportunities,” she said.

“The program is focused on helping business women develop the mindset and skills to adapt and innovate during this disruptive and rapidly changing world.”

The ‘Reset and Re-imagine your Business’ program was funded by the Queensland Government.

For more information or to register for an event, visit WiRE Program

Reset and Re-imagine your Business events:

WiRE Virtual Workshop series: Reset and re-imagine your life and business
Starts June 4 (10am-12pm)

WiRE Virtual Business Women’s Boot Camp
June 13-14

WiRE Hub Program
July 10 – September 25 (*Applications close June 15).

Woman with pizza
Danielle Gordon has registered for WiRE’s ‘Reset and Re-imagine your Business’ program.