South Australia Reigniting Economic Growth & Entrepreneurship

2020 has been a real test.

For some businesses, bookings and customers disappeared overnight, events cancelled, projects were pushed out, where delays and restrictions took the control right out of your hands.  You may have seen a strain on you and your team where keeping on top of mental health issues is very important and it is almost like there have been parallel experiences of job losses and downturns alongside massive growth and demand.

Reigniting an entrepreneurial spirit with a positive perspective is what many people need right now.  Something to look forward to, with goals and targets to strive for, and a collaboration of colleagues and leaders to contribute views and ideas.

At the Reigniting Economic Growth & Entrepreneurship – Leaders Forum & Dinner hosted by Wendy Perry in August 2020 at Utopia @ Waterfall Gully, with business, government, industry and regional representatives, guests heard from speakers, Jim Whalley, SA Chief Entrepreneur & Kelly Markos, Utopia @ Waterfall Gully on overcoming floods, then a landslide and a pandemic.

It was an opportunity to learn about others experiences and identify opportunities to reignite economic growth and entrepreneurship with discussion covering the following questions:

  • Q1 What has the past 9 months or so been like for you and your business or work?
  • Q2a How do you suggest we could reignite economic growth and entrepreneurship?
  • Q2b What are the things that you would like to see action on?
  • Q3 Who should do/lead what? Actions and takeways?

Over the last 9 months, it was a real mix of feedback, where you may have working from home and you’ve enjoyed and an emotional rollercoaster at times.  In crisis mode working with some clients and it’s been great to have a feeling of being able to help others who are struggling.

Impressed with the creativity of people in business, new opportunities have arisen from the crisis and the situation may not be as bleak as the media portrays with much positive action happening around South Australia.  It’s been a real period of ups and downs and uncertainty with the opportunity to connect with lots of people who may not have been available or open to connection before – we are all in this together.  Lost count of the number of online meetings with many online events in a short space of time, more people are thinking globally and broader opportunities are opening up due to online pivots.

The shutdown due to COVID-19 created time out to work on the business rather than in it with a chance to reflect on what you’re doing and where you want to be going.  Created a renewed energy for entrepreneurial thinking and looking for new opportunities to live and do business differently.

For some it was an opportunity to stop, think about different ways to execute and reboot.  This saw an increase in business and a better business model, going online becoming the norm and improved work life balance.  A time for planning, education, communication improvements and taking workplace culture digital.

Reinventing different stream of income based on skills available, creating content and videos, understanding the value of services and the new normal.  Proving the concept of working from home, other bunkered down building COVID hubs and networks.

Challenging time to focus on the positive, depression and mental health came into sharp focus, and many reached out for mentoring and support.

There are a number of suggestion to reigniting economic growth & entrepreneurship, including celebrating the successes of those who have pivoted or thrived and share how they’ve managed to stay resilient and survive, for example the Utopia story.  Building on mentoring programs to help business owners to get support to stay strong and provide opportunities for networking and reconnection such as Reignite SA.  Providing opportunities to safely maintain face to face connections for business owners, bring people together for think tanks and action plans such as the dinner.

Removing payroll tax, making it easier for people to do business as too many rules and red tape discourages business people from growing and from embarking on new businesses.

Let people with an entrepreneurial spirit flourish, don’t always think bigger is better, provide encouragement to the smaller operations and regions too as large businesses had to start somewhere, and many really small operations will be the ones to survive the pandemic through low overheads and cost bases.

If you would like to be involved in future #ReigniteSA dinners and events then please make contact via

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