The Contribution of Business Operators to Regional Areas: Roles, Skills, Benefits Beyond the Store Front
Why would an entrepreneur leave a secure position or business, with all their creature comforts, and move to a regional area of Australia to take on a new business venture? The statistics on regional populations have indicated that these areas are aging; the young have no interest in staying in regional areas and are moving to the cities for education and job opportunities. Further, regional areas suffer from a lack of services and infrastructure. Yet rural regions are still attracting people; many of whom are willing to establish an enterprise as a means of employment.
This chapter specifically reports on data from self-employed business operators who have moved to a regional community. The data was collected as part of a larger study on professional and other highly skilled workers, that examined how rural communities can capture maximum benefit from an increasingly mobile and transitory workforce (Kilpatrick, S., Vitartas, P., Homisan, M., & Johns, S. (2010) The Mobile Skilled Workforce: Optimising benefits for rural communities. Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, Canberra, ACT). In this work, the new business operators are examined as a subset of mobile skilled workers, with the objective of identifying the benefits that regional areas derive from their skills; as well as exploring the contribution that business operators make beyond the services and produce of their enterprise. These new business operators face many challenges in integrating into the community and running their businesses. Their work and efforts often go unrecognised because they operate in the private sector and there is an expectation that their efforts are rewarded through the profit of their business. In this context, innovative community settings that could encourage and support new operators are identified and discussed.
KeywordsRural Community Skilled Worker Business Operator Regional Area Venture Creation
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