Fresh Face Supporting Business

There’s a fresh face helping to bring out the best in Central Highlands business.

Ranee Parsons is the region’s new Business Development Officer, who’s at the helm of the Business Support and Development Program at the Central Highlands Development Corporation (CHDC).

Ms Parsons has worked mainly with small privately-owned companies over the past decade, the past six of those years in the Central Highlands.

Prior to that, she helped run and grow Wilderness Escapes, an adventure tourism enterprise that started in the downstairs of her family home and eventually moved into its own shop in Brisbane.

“I know the rewards and struggles in small business and the effect it can have on your family and your community,” Ms Parsons says.

“For the past few years, my team and I have faced adversities as a local retailer in Emerald and I’m now thrilled to be a part of the solution and building blocks to help other businesses and the wider community.”

A key part of the role is visiting businesses across the Central Highlands to provide one-on-one support and assistance.

“I’ve already hit the road to meet as many operators as possible but I encourage anyone else who would like a visit, especially if they require specific assistance, to give me a call.”

Businesses can contact Ms Parsons via the website or phone (07) 4982 4386.

One of Ms Parsons’ first major projects is Small Business Week on 16 – 21 May, which will include a workshop in Blackwater and the announcement of the Central Highlands’ Community Champions who make a significant contribution to the local economy and community.

The Business Development Officer provides small to medium enterprises in the Central Highlands with access to information and support to enhance their development and capacity. The Officer works with businesses to maximise opportunity in the areas of innovation, investment, diversification, employment and strategic planning.

The role is funded until 2018 through the BMA Community Partnerships Program.

CHDC General Manager Sandra Hobbs says Ms Parsons’ proven expertise and experience makes her the perfect fit for the position.

“Businesses are going to be supported by someone who already has a keen understanding of the challenges they’re going through and the opportunities they can tap into,” Ms Hobbs explains.

“Ranee’s also affable and approachable, and she’s passionate about the Central Highlands, so she’s going to make a great sounding board for any businesses needing some one-on-one support.”

Ms Parsons is especially keen to support Blackwater to becoming a sustainable, locally-driven supply hub once more, and to assist start-ups across the region.

“I have worked in rural communities for most of my career and I am always in awe of the courage and strength that presents when the going gets tough and they face challenges that are unique.”

Ms Parsons replaces Vicki Hamilton, who is relocating to the Sunshine Coast.

“We thank Vicki for doing an amazing job providing practical and moral support to businesses as they navigated the past couple of tough years,” Ms Hobbs says.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Please contact Nicky Fisher 0414 360 697 or for further information.

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