SURPRISE BOOST OF GOING ONLINE

How our Enterprise programme successfully adapted providing its services during lockdowns while also growing its reach.

A small business development programme aimed at the ADF community and backed by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales has managed to successful adapt to providing its services during Covid while also growing its reach.

Covid may have thrown Prince's Trust Australia Enterprise programme an unexpected spin ball, but we still managed to hit it for a six this year.

The free programme is the only one of its kind in Australia and gives ex-serving and transitioning ADF members and military spouses help to launch and grow small businesses.

Enterprise was traditionally delivered through in-person workshops but with the pandemic came restrictions, reshuffling and rethinking.

Workshops were moved online, and staff had to quickly wrap their heads around all the associated technology.

Programme coordinator Lydia Teychenné admits a lot of work goes into transferring a face-to-face programme to virtual success, but the transition to online came with some unexpected benefits.

“We were pleased to find people signing up to our workshops who would not have normally come to an in-person event,” she said.

“This could be because they were too far from a major city where we hold boot camps, because of financial constraints or work commitments, or because they have babies and young children at home.

“We also heard from a few participants that because of mental health struggles they probably wouldn’t have attended a workshop that required them to leave their home and interact with strangers.”

In 2021 attendees dialled in from across regional Australia, including Cairns QLD, Mudgee NSW, Mildura VIC, Tindall NT and Rockingham WA.  Transitioning members joined from military bases, and even quarantine hotels.   A defence spouse on accompanied military exchange joined an ADF partner cohort from Hawaii.

This year’s programme included five veteran and three defence partner Enterprise Online cohorts, four Enterprise Connect cohorts and ten virtual seminars, alumni meet ups and networking events.

Enterprise helped start and grow businesses in the fields of technology, wellness, financial planning, music, communication and e-commerce, along with charities and social enterprises.

The past year also saw a significant jump in the number of women, particularly military partners, signing up to the programme, with one third of new entrepreneurs being defence spouses.  

Enterprise Online alumna and RAAF spouse Emily Healy is the owner of Tailored Developmental Therapies, a growing Adelaide business that provides mentoring, counselling and customised therapies.

Emily’s business was already established when she took part in the programme at the start of 2021, but it gave her the opportunity to sit back and look at the business of doing business.

“(Enterprise has) definitely given me ideas of ways to network more and grow my reach,” she said.

Prince’s Trust Australia CEO Michelle Endacott said she was impressed with the way the Enterprise team were able to adapt to working through a pandemic, while continuing to provide a much-need service to the defence community.

“Our team has worked hard to keep the programme 100 per cent free for our veterans and ADF partners,” she said.

“This is thanks to the generous donations of our patrons, donors and sponsors who care about our ADF community, and understand the impact defence life can have on military families.” 

In 2022 Prince’s Trust Australia will continue to support the small business dreams of the defence community and will expand to offer the Accelerator programme, aimed at business owners looking to scale up.

To sign up for the 2022 Enterprise programme https://bit.ly/Enterprise2022EOI

Written by Enterprise alumna and ADF partner, Courtney Snowden.

Article is featured in Top Ender Magazine, December 2021 Edition

Image: (C) Kevin Bhagat from Unsplash.com

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