WiRE Program Empowers Rural Women in Business to Excel and Innovate
The University of Southern Queensland’s Institute for Resilient Regions has launched a groundbreaking program aimed at empowering rural women in business and helping them excel in the ever-evolving entrepreneurial landscape. The Women in Rural, Regional, and Remote Enterprises (WiRE) Program provides a support network and capability-building opportunities for women in regional, rural, and remote areas. It aims to equip them with the tools and knowledge necessary to succeed in business, build connections, and effectively market themselves and their businesses to a global audience.
One woman who has benefitted from the WiRE Program is Liz Couchman, owner of Clever Bugs, a child sensory play business in Darling Downs. Liz joined the program in 2023 and found it to be a transformative experience. She felt isolated and alone working from her rural property and craved the opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals. Through the WiRE Program, Liz not only learned from knowledge sessions and fellow members but also discovered new skills and talents that inspired her to pursue new business ideas. The program provided her with momentum and a sense of belonging that is often lacking in the small business world, especially for those in rural or remote areas.
In an effort to help female founders stay ahead of the curve, the WiRE Program is organizing free Regional Innovation and Artificial Intelligence (AI) Play Workshops. These workshops, starting on September 13 in Toowoomba and spanning across regional Queensland, will provide entrepreneurial women with insights into how AI technology can maximize their business potential. From refining their professional brand voice to strategizing for success in modern business and leveraging AI for marketing, the workshops aim to empower women to tap into the power of AI and fast-track their success.
WiRE Program Founder and Director, Professor Retha Wiesner, emphasizes that this initiative is not limited to a specific age or experience level. The program’s goal is to build capability and support all women in business, regardless of their background. Furthermore, the WiRE Program seeks to establish networks among women entrepreneurs so they can provide each other with mutual support and uplifting communities.
The WiRE Program is a proud recipient of support from the Advance Queensland Initiative, part of the Queensland Department of Tourism and Innovation. The program has also partnered with several organizations, including the University of Southern Queensland, Southern Qld Country Tourism, Neural Digital, Queensland Social Enterprise Council, Outback Queensland Tourism, McCullough and Robertson Lawyers, and My Malekso.
Supporting women in business is crucial, particularly in regional, rural, and remote areas. As Liz Couchman asserts, women have always been innovative and entrepreneurial, but in a world where personal networks may be limited, the need for support and community is more important than ever.
The WiRE Program is revolutionizing the way women entrepreneurs in rural areas approach business. By equipping them with the necessary skills, knowledge, and support networks, the program is paving the way for these women to create ventures, businesses, and initiatives that align with their dreams. In addition, the program fosters a sense of giving back, encouraging women to support each other and their communities.
With the WiRE Program at the forefront, regional, rural, and remote women entrepreneurs are ready to embrace the opportunities of the 2020s and become unstoppable forces in the business world. By harnessing the power of AI and staying connected through supportive networks, these women have the potential to excel and innovate like never before. The WiRE Program is not only transforming individual businesses but also contributing to the overall growth and resilience of regional economies. It’s time for these remarkable women to shine and make their mark on the world.