Why start a local business group?

I have always been involved in community things. I think I joined my first council advisory group, when I was in high school, aged of 16. Fast forward to my return to Gippsland and I was living in Mirboo North for only 12 hours before I was on a committee. Recently I’ve cut back to complete a business degree and build up my business Jacican.

But it’s time to get back on the horse … show leadership in the business community in which I work and live, Mirboo North, South Gippsland.

I have an idea: if we all come together, share our learnings, ideas and business wins for our already strong business, we will make our businesses even stronger. By building a local business group, we can network directly with each other and through collaboration grow a bigger business pie for the area.

When I started Jacican, I access business networking and training events, through shire sponsored, community groups or other business. This allows me to create business networks in all areas of my business – tourism, hospitality, food product development and the creation of internet content. I still regularly attend business network around Gippsland, along with the occasional foray into Melbourne to share and learn with others. Many of the opportunities and contact I have made are from attending such events.

Now it is time for me to give back to the community that has supported by business from start-up to cooking school and food studio. Starting a business group is something I can do, to support others along their business journey.

The idea that I have is a monthly meeting with one of two focuses: an opportunity for a Mirboo North business to share their story, as well as hear from a business professional in any field, the next month a chance of Mirboo North businesses to network directly with each over. Open to all businesses and business people in Mirboo North and the greater area, no matter of size, location or turnover. These events are open anyone wishing to work together to build a stronger community.

With a focus on business skills, the by-monthly speaker events will give businesses in Mirboo North the opportunity to share their story, by hosting an event, as well as hear from their chosen industry professional. By showing leadership and hosting the first event, I am hoping to encourage others in the Mirboo North business community to stand-up and host a business event.

The first event is to be held Wednesday 16th October 2019, in the offices of the Mirboo North and District Community Foundation co-working space, 96 Ridgeway Mirboo North at 7:30pm.

Follow up speaking events are scheduled for February, April, and June. Ideas put forth, by the Mirboo North business community so far, have included EOFY finances, learning from neighbouring towns business success and how to build a website.

The second by-monthly get together will be an opportunity to Mirboo North business to network directly with each other, without any formalities. A causal gets together, it will be a chance to for all Mirboo North businesses to introduce themselves, their business and their business offering. Model on successful business networking models, each business will have 5 minutes to share their wins, ask for help or businesses leads or develop collaborations.

As a community, if we all work together to grow the business pie, together we will make a stronger community.

Jaci Hicken

- Jacican

I grew up on a dairy farm in the South Gippsland outside the town of Loch. As a young girl my time was spent reading the cook books that mum kept in the bottom kitchen draw. Always looking for a new recipe to try, a new food idea. Many weekends where spent making rainbow cakes with as many colours as possible – have you seen my IG feed, not much has changed, and looking for recipes that I could cook using what was available in the cupboard or from the vegetable garden.

At the aged of about 16, I remember stating that I wanted to leave the farm and travel the world. I had an idea that I would become a television technician and work on sporting events (which I did). This would be followed by retiring by about 30 and moving back to South Gippsland to grow vegetables and cook. From 16 fast forward 20 years and I returned, starting Jacican Food Studio in Mirboo North, South Gippsland where I grow vegetables and cook.

Before returning to South Gippsland I re-trained as a chef, completing my certificate of commercial cookery. This led me to working in catering, large and small hotels and small businesses, both in Melbourne and South Gippsland before starting Jacican. In 2014 I completed my Bachelor of Business and Commerce from Monash University, just to round out my education.

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Bernard Kelly

Hi Jackie – I’m doing something similar in Geelong, with Wisdom Mentors Geelong. Join us in our Facebook Group under the same name. It took us months to find a name that represented what we do. However you’ll need a name for your group – so why not run with Wisdom Mentors Mirboo North and we both can then say “we’re part of this innovative and dynamic national network of home based businesses”. And I’m personally into “retiring from retirement” and one very interesting group you may benefit from is “Baby Boomers… resourceful focused and disciplined” as they offer free… Read more »

Christine Boucher
Christine Boucher

Hi Jaci, I’m starting a Professional Womens Network in East Gippsland. Would love any advice around funding events. Regards Christine Boucher