Entrepreneur set to shake up Bundy's business scene
THE future of Bundaberg is being crafted, one initiative at a time. And the latest venture by Community Lifestyle Support is set to supercharge the Rum City's business ecosystem, by introducing new entrepreneurial blood.
Community Lifestyle Support this week announced Michael Norton would stand at the helm of Bundaberg's business scene in an effort to drive entrepreneurship and innovation in the region.
CLS CEO Damien Tracey said the project, funded by the Federal Government under the Incubator Support initiative, had been in the works for almost six months.
"We are trying to set up a hardware prototype facility to support entrepreneur start-ups to prototype new pieces of technology in Bundaberg,” Mr Tracey said.
Mr Tracey said he wanted to see the development of new assistive technology and hardware that would help people living with a disability lead a more independent life.
The venture is in partnership with Bundaberg Regional Council and CQUniversity.
Mr Norton, who was most recently based in San Diego, California, said he never expected to become the chief entrepreneur of a regional Queensland city.
He will be in Bundaberg for the next six months and said he was excited to see what ideas Bundy's entrepreneurs had to "surprise him”.
"I have to start out by getting oriented by what already exists here before I can understand what we need in Bundaberg,” Mr Norton said.
His orientation will take place over the first couple of months, with Mr Norton developing a map of the region's existing entrepreneurial ecosystem.
"I am focused on the type of entrepreneurship that creates real value of the community,” he said.
"I like to understand where the problems are and what people need and to have a sense of empathy of what people need to help them thrive and live well and love each other and experience a good life.”
Encouraging Bundaberg's young people to stay in Bundaberg will be a strong focus for Mr Norton as he works towards crafting programs and opportunities to support their business, while attracting new blood to the region as well.
This includes supporting and guiding people with disabilities in becoming entrepreneurs.
"Coming in through CLS, I will be focusing on assistive technology and creating technology for people with disabilities and making avenues for people with disabilities to start their own business,” he said.
He said one way for entrepreneurs to measure their own success was to ask themselves if they were solving real problems in accessible ways for people in the community.
"... Recognising what the needs of community are and imagining what solutions will be, from those beginning stages, then to prototypes of businesses, whether they are online or brick and mortar ... we have to support that as a cornerstone of a regional economy,” he said.
For those wanting to begin an entrepreneurial adventure but may be afraid to take the first step, Mr Norton said the best advice he could give was to believe in yourself and your idea.
"Being a founder and creating something new is always scary, but don't be afraid of failure,” he said.
"Expect support from the community and ask for help and let us rally around each other.”
Follow Mr Norton's
entrepreneurial journey on Twitter at @TheRedHype
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