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Recent and current projects by the project team

In the area of women entrepreneurship development and small business development, Professor Retha Wiesner has led projects of over $5M, inclucing:

  • September 2018 - June 2019: Start-up, Scale-up and Going Global. Advancing women in business initiative, Advance Queensland.

  • January 2017 – June 2018: The WiRE Program: Advancing women in rural, regional and remote enterprises through entrepreneurship. Department of Industry, Innovation and Science.

  • June – October 2017. Advancing women in rural, regional and remote enterprises (FNQ) through a Business Growth Bootcamp and Mentor Development Initiative. Advancing Women in Business Initiative.

  • 2016: Building Women’s (migrant and refugee women) Start-up Resilience in Regional Queensland" The project was funded by Advance Queensland,

  • January – April 2018. Whitsundays Women’s Business Growth Bootcamp. Advancing Women in Business Initiative.

  • 2016: Building Women’s (migrant and refugee women) Start-up Resilience in Regional Queensland, Funder: Advance Queensland;

  • 2015 and 2017: DFAT Australian Awards Fellowship capacity-building program on "Empowering women through entrepreneurship, innovation and business sustainability" for six partner organisations in Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri-Lanka.

  • 2013: An AusAid Australian Leadership Awards Fellowship capacity-building program on "Empowering women through entrepreneurship, innovation and business sustainability" for six partner organisations engaged in women entrepreneurship development in Pakistan.

  • 2012: An AusAid Australian Leadership Awards Fellowship capacity-building program on Fostering business sustainability for competitiveness in Pakistani Small and Medium Size Enterprises.

  • Fostering business sustainability in SMEs (collaborator CCIQ) (Department of EHP). $3m (July 2014 – July 2016) – this project used a similar model for capacity building of small businesses as the proposed project. The project has obtained significant impact on SMEs, for example  the ecoBiz program has connected with: over 2000 people, online, over 600 businesses face-to-face.  Businesses have saved: an average of 30% off their energy consumption, 39% off water, 35% off waste. The ecoBiz program secured one of the top four 4 finalist places in the Australian Financial Review University-Industry collaboration Awards;

  • The green leaders project (collaborators CitySmart, Energex, Rio Tinto, South Bank Precinct). Funder Australian Government. (2013 – 2015); 

  • High performance work systems and workplace engagement in Western Downs Regional Council. Completed October, 2015.

  • Information and communication technologies and Australia’s regional economic competitiveness, Western Downs Regional Council, 2015.

  • Community preferences for digital futures, Southern Downs Regional Council, 2012.
    Innovation and growth in small and medium enterprises in regional Australia, Western Downs Regional Council, 2015.

  • ICT, innovation and growth in Australia, Australian Governments’ Collaborative Research Network Program, 2012-15.

  • Big Data for Small Business. Collaborator: Ipswich City Council. ($25,000). Funder: Advance Queensland; 

  • A best practice for managing change for sustainability in SMEs. Funder: CPA. ($15,000) (2012);

  • Managing Sustainability Change for Competitiveness (Commissioned by Enterprise Connect) (2012);

  • Scenario planning with the view to minimise the impact of the economic downturn on training of Queensland apprentices and trainees in the construction industry (Construction Skills Queensland) (2012).

These international capacity building programs led by Professor Retha Wiesner at USQ were designed to enhance gender equality in a business context, empower women through entrepreneurship and improve the success of women entrepreneurs in countries such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka. These capacity building programs are aimed at individuals in leadership roles in these countries who have an impact on women entrepreneurial development, capacity and skill building through practice and policy. The program provide Fellows with a ‘toolkit’ of Australian best practices, policies, research and promotion initiatives, to build participants’ own knowledge and skills as well as their capacity to more effectively foster women entrepreneurship in their countries.

These program typically comprise a three-week intensive program that is underpinned by the values of women empowerment, capacity building and knowledge sharing. It  includes components such as: best practices of successful women entrepreneurs, creativity, innovation, empowerment of women
entrepreneurs and building competitive advantage through business sustainability activities. The development of initiatives, action plans and project frameworks for post program implementation are integral to these programs.  

 The previous  three international programs conducted were:
•  2015: DFAT Australian Awards Fellowship capacity-building program on "Empowering women through entrepreneurship, innovation and business sustainability" for three partner organisations in Bangladesh and Nepal.  
•    2013: An AusAid Australian Leadership Awards Fellowship capacity-building program on "Empowering women through entrepreneurship, innovation and business sustainability" for six partner organisations engaged in women entrepreneurship development in Pakistan. 

•    2012: An AusAid Australian Leadership Awards Fellowship capacity-building program on Fostering business sustainability for competitiveness in Pakistani Small and Medium Size Enterprises.

As a result of the successful delivery of these programs, on time and within budget, the USQ project team has secured another DFAT grant on Empowering women through entrepreneurship and digital innovation (2017).  A group of entrepreneurial leaders in three countries (Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri-Lanka) will be participating in this project. This project provides an ideal opportunity during May 2017 for participants in the WiRE program to connect, share and collaborate with these entrepreneurial leaders. Find out more about this opportunity and how you can participate here. 

An impressive network was created of almost 80 Australian successful women entrepreneurs that fed into these programs through capacity development and mentoring. The projects had and are having significant impact with several strategies  developed as part of the programs including for example: progressive digital strategies; skill and capacity training of women entrepreneurs especially in in non-traditional sector; effective capacity building strategies; mentorship and strategies to develop incubation centres in these countries.  

Take a peek at the 2015 program:

 
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