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Uncovering the untapped potential of young women in the bush

New research helping entrepreneurs develop pathway from idea to execution

Empathy, creativity and innovation are indispensable factors to successful entrepreneurship.

They are among the secret ingredients of good business being examined in a University of Southern Queensland study focused on one of the most untapped groups of rural economies.

The Young WiRE project seeks to help develop the full entrepreneurial potential of young women in rural, remote and regional Australia.

Lead researcher Simone Lee, who is completing the project as part of her PhD, said it was critical that young aspiring women in rural, regional and remote areas be encouraged to harness their talents and ideas and turn them into operating businesses.

With more than 10 years as a life skills mentor for young women in the bush, Ms Lee knows intimately the challenges these women face in achieving their goals.

“Only 13 per cent of rural businesses are founded by women which is significantly lower than their urban counterparts,” she said.

“In addition, women who own or manage rural businesses are considerably older than women entrepreneurs in capital cities.

“There needs to be a focus on growing the entrepreneurship and career pipeline of young women into economic activity and contribution.”

Ms Lee’s research will help shape leadership programs designed especially to help propel young women outside of urban Australia into successful entrepreneurial careers.

More than 150 young women will be surveyed as part of the research, which also aims to develop a conceptual framework of the antecedents of entrepreneurial mindset in Australian RRR women.

“This will be the first research of its kind examining the entrepreneurial mindset of young women in rural, regional and remote Australia,” Ms Lee said.

“It is already helping to uncover the full potential of young women to contribute to the regional and rural economy.”

University of Southern Queensland is committed to advancing economic opportunities of women in rural, regional and remote areas through the Institute for Resilient Regions.

University of Southern Queensland PhD Student Simone Lee.
University of Southern Queensland PhD Student Simone Lee.