Regional Online Heroes 2017 Open for Entries
Entries are now open for the 2017 Regional Online Heroes (ROH) program, delivered by the Regional Australia Institute (RAI) and Google Australia.
Regional Online Heroes recognises outstanding regional innovators, and encourages small and medium sized businesses around the country to realise the potential of mobile and online technologies for growth.
Being a Regional Online Hero could mean anything from using online marketing to attract new customers, expanding a traditional bricks and mortar store to selling online, or managing a team across borders using online productivity tools.
Ten lucky finalists will have the opportunity to travel to Google in Sydney to attend an exclusive digital marketing masterclass on Friday 1 December, where they will share their stories and develop new skills.
Entries are now open for the 2017 Regional Online Heroes program at www.regionalaustralia.org.au. Applications close midnight Sunday 8 October. All entries for 2017 will be considered by an expert judging panel including:
- The Hon Michael McCormack MP – Minister for Small Business
- Jack Archer – CEO, Regional Australia Institute
- John Ball – Managing Director of Google Marketing Solutions, Google Australia
- Jane Cay – Founder and Director, Birdsnest
- David Koch – Television Presenter, Kochie’s Business Builders on Channel 7
- Dr Sandra Phillips – Leading Indigenous Scholar, Creative Industries Faculty, School of Communications, Queensland University of Technology
Since its beginning in 2015, the Hon Michael McCormack MP, the first every country Minister for Small Business and Regional Online Heroes Judge, has seen its impact first hand.
‘The success of finalists from the 2015 and 2016 Regional Online Heroes programs demonstrates what can be achieved when regional small businesses turn their minds to developing new opportunities through clever use of digital and online technologies to grow their business and create regional jobs,’ said Minister McCormack.
Some of the success stories include:
- Stephen Dummett of AGDATA Australia (National Winner 2016), based in Toowoomba QLD, has found the exposure since the competition to be most valuable, noticing an increased interest in the business and the AgTech industry. AGDATA have also started a podcast using the stories of their customers and are in the process of developing integrated mobile solutions, which will be ready for release in 2018.
- Simone Kain of George the Farmer (Finalist 2016), based in Penola SA, has gone on to win the South Australian Rural Industries Development and Research Corporation (RIDRC) Rural Woman of the Year for her efforts educating children about agriculture. In the weeks following the 2016 ROH Masterclass they signed with a television production house in Sydney, pitching a George the Farmer television series. Discussions with broadcasters will commence in the months to come.
- Penny Evans of Penny Evans Art (Finalist 2016), based in Lismore NSW, says her business has exploded since being a ROH finalist. She has substantially increased her social media following and the number of visitors to her website. Penny was also a finalist in the 2017 Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards (NATSIAA), and has featured in a number of publications and broadcasts, including ABC Open and the Qantas Spirit of Australia magazine. Her business has become so busy, she is looking to take on an assistant.
- Sarah Sammon of Simply Rose Petals (Finalist 2016), based in Swan Hill VIC, has launched a new side-arm to their business specialising in edible flowers. While it is still early days, they have already supplied leading brands with their products, including Lush Cosmetics and Adriano Zumbo. Simply Rose Petals was also announced in the Top 5 in Australia for Special Services in the Australian Bridal Industry Awards.
- Sascha Estens of Rabbit Hop Films (Finalist 2016), based in Moree NSW, has recently travelled to the United Kingdom to make a video for the Unity of Faiths Foundation, including the Mayor of London. The Foundation works to tackle issues of poverty, gang-related violence, radicalisation, drug addiction and social disharmony in the UK, Europe and Australia. To date, the project has stopped over 30 youths from travelling to Syria. Additionally Rabbit Hop Films have launched five new films and employed two new staff members.
- Alison Shaw of Tambo Teddies (National Winner 2015), based in Tambo QLD, has been able to grow their business online since participating in the 2015 ROH competition. The one-on-one session taught her how to structure their online activities, and for the past 18 months they have seen their online sales increase substantially by implementing what Alison learnt.
- Simone Dudley of Therapy Connect (Finalist 2015), based in Deniliquin NSW, says that since the Google masterclass, Therapy Connect has become recognised professionally as leaders in the field of providing online speech and occupational therapy supports to children and families in Australia. Their business has provided services to over 25 new regional areas across States and Territories in Australia and reach as far as Asia, all from their own regional bases in New South Wales and Victoria.
- Joanne Knobel of Knobel Honey (Finalist 2015), based in Clermont QLD, says that their business would not be what it is now without their experience as a ROH finalist. After attending the Masterclass, Knobel Honey created their online store and significantly increased their Instagram following, which has helped them greatly growing their business. They have also used their knowledge to mentor other small businesses in the area, encouraging them to embrace online marketing and other tools to grow their business.
To compliment this Media Release, two blog pieces are also available titled:
- Women and the World Wide Web of Work; and
- Regions are Getting Connected Online.