At this stage of our pre-launch and in the absence of an actual physical space of our own, we decided to pop up in local businesses, cafes, community centres and unusual places. We had lots of fun and through this process grew a core membership of 65, a Facebook Fan page of 788 and a recently started a Public Facebook BizBuddyHub collaboration group of 288 local people and an organic reach of 2500 people locally.
In a year, we have:
- Hosted over 74 public and member events, including coworking, accountability sessions, socials, coffee catch ups and workshops
- Advocated passionately for our local area and for outer metro challenges in general with local, state and federal government and stakeholders and have many supporters
- Put in a launchVIC funding submission and joined the dots with many organisations across the West to start building out a collaborative framework. We have also collaborated across other outer-metro areas and shared knowledge and learnings freely
- We have volunteered our time and energy and expertise into local enterprise projects, local community projects and have joined the dots for many of our local members to help them grow their business or support their initiatives.
- We have led by example and have always celebrated our members and our community’s wins and achievements
- We tried very hard to secure a permanent space for our hub and pilot and passionately campaigned to secure the existing R&D and jobs of our local Scientist’s in the Diary Innovation space (sadly not achieved)
- This has been a year of testing and trialling what works, what doesn’t work, and, researching what people say they want versus what they do
What we have learned is this:
- People have a need to belong and a sense of being in this together: – People in freelancing and home-based micro business find it very isolating
- Networking groups create a closed network and competition for existing local dollars. This plays out in social channels as competitive referrals rather than creating a culture of collaboration and creative thinking to grow the local economy. We will always be an inclusive and open network that supports all people of good standing in the community and seek to connect rather than divide
- There is an urgent need for activation right across local business in the Wyndham area. We have many small businesses struggling and we have many silos. We will work to create a platform of resource-sharing to help join businesses and people in a way that optimises resources and a sharing economy that has at its heart community first
- We will continue to advocate for an activation project that supports starter businesses and makers and creatives in a physical location, but we will also work with existing space providers to come up with creative solutions in their under-utilised spaces (a more permanent pop-up iteration)
- We will continue to build our membership and bring on a skilled associate subset who can support activation activity and we will build strong alliances with the innovation and start up community across the West.
We believe the future of outer-metro is in our hands and the enviable title of being the fastest growing area in Australia comes with many challenges but also should deliver many opportunities if handled correctly. Communities that have grown organically have many values and are nice places to live because people have had the time to grow together and have context. Our community has been grown artificially and rapidly, so much so that we have not had the time to work out what we stand for. This must change, we must continue to show leadership and vision for our community not only for now but for the future of our children and theirs to come.
If you live local, work local (or would like to) and you love local! Check us out and if you like what we do, why not get involved? There is much to do and we would love to get this done together. Watch this space as we are coming up with some exciting plans and tools and activities moving forward. The BizBuddyHub Live local, Work Local movement has only just begun.
Thank you one and all for your support and encouragement over the last year.