A University of Southern Queensland (USQ) program helping break down barriers for women in business in rural, remote and regional parts of Australia has been named a finalist for a national higher-education award.
The WiRE (Women in Rural, Remote, Regional Enterprises) program promotes and cultivates women entrepreneurship and innovation, encouraging women to progress their business and career dreams.
The program has been shortlisted in the Employability Award category of the Australian Financial Review (AFR) Higher Education Awards 2018 which celebrates excellence in the sector.
USQ researcher, Founder and Program Director of the WiRE Program, Professor Retha Wiesner said she was thrilled the initiative had been recognised at a national level.
“The program enables, guides and supports women in rural, regional and remote enterprises who want to develop an idea into a venture and/or grow and scale up their business or community venture,” she said.
“The WiRE program was launched in Queensland in January 2017 with $290,000 funding support from the Federal and Queensland Government. The program is the first of its kind in Australia and engaged 1750 participants in just 18 months.”
Professor Wiesner said USQ had supported this flagship initiative through significant in-kind and systems support.
“We brought together USQ’s expertise to focus on, and develop, enterprise – nurturing and empowering community-minded entrepreneurs,” Professor Wiesner said.
"The WiRE Program exemplifies USQ’s strategy and institutional support for employability and self-employment of learners.
“There was a huge opportunity to boost Australia’s entrepreneurial capacity, with nearly half of all new ventures founded in rural, regional or remote areas yet only 2.4 percent of these founded by women.”
Winners of the AFR Higher Education Awards 2018 will be announced on August 28.
USQ researcher Professor Retha Wiesner founded the WiRE pgoram empowering regional and remote women entrepreneurs.