In Good Company, a showcase of the innovation and resilience of small business in the Northern Rivers, was launched on Tuesday 3 July 2018. The project was created through a partnership between the NSW Business Chamber (Northern Rivers), RDA Northern Rivers, our seven regional councils, the NSW Government and Southern Cross University.
With its roots in the recovery from cyclone Debbie, the project highlights the resilience of our business community, many of whom were back trading within weeks of the devastating weather event. More than resilient, Northern Rivers businesses continue to show their ability to adapt and grow. Embracing change is a strategy that has seen our local businesses to go from strength to strength, adapting what they do and how they do it to meet the changing environment.
The Launch was supported by Parliamentary Secretary for the North Coast, and local resident, the Hon. Ben Franklin MLC. In his opening speech Mr Franklin highlighted the dropping unemployment levels in the Northern Rivers and the valued contribution of our small to medium businesses to growth and creating employment in our region.
The star of the launch was the printed book, which is supported by the In Good Company website and Facebook Page. The book provides a beautifully tactile experience of what it means to do business in the Northern Rivers. The stories are also featured on the In Good Company website.
A panel of local businesses, who feature in the book, shared their stories. Highlights from the panel include Bob Little of Spar Maclean, the longest continually running grocery store in the nation (trading since 1883 when it was called the Argyle Store), who named climate, people and location as the winning combination. The award winning business credits their staff and the “endlessly accommodating and friendly” local community for their ongoing success.
It was agreed among panelists that the key to success when doing business in the Northern Rivers is going local. Finding local suppliers, employing local people and connecting with our local community. Debbie McQueen of Gateway Fine Foods in Kyogle has crafted her business around the idea of local. The café and delicatessen have a focus on local produce. This focus on local foods has seen the business expand to offer Long Table Lunches. Set against the backdrop of open paddocks and rolling hills, the lunches feature talks and tours from local producers and farmers.
Going local is a key feature of the In Good Company campaign’s Bigger Backyard, a proactive platform which aims for 300 pledges in 30 days from Northern Rivers businesses. The pledge asks businesses to review their supply chain to see where a local supplier or producer may be used instead of going outside our region. You can find out more about Bigger Backyard and take the pledge on the In Good Company website.
Other businesses featured on the panel highlighted the benefit of employing and training our regions young people. Cate McQuillan of Mememe Productions and Will Gammon of Cumulus VFX have both benefited from taking on and training young people.