The start-up phase for new business is one that involves many late nights, endless to-do lists, risky investments and often isolation from coworkers, the community and family. With deep roots in regional business Jess Jones, founder of Soar Collective, knows these challenges intimately and has kicked off a fundraising campaign to support and connect women in business, to showcase emerging entrepreneurs, creatives and innovators across regional Australia.
There is no shortage of ambitious dream chasing in her genes, Jones spent her childhood in and around her parents business seeing first-hand the independence, satisfaction and joy paralleled by isolation and struggles that are experienced pursuing the entrepreneur’s path. Later in life, she has now developed two successful businesses, and it is this experience that Jones draws on launching Soar Collective’s Rise for Regional Road trip.
“Call us crazy, but our little Soar Collective team, including three women and two babies are hitting the road to launch six new locations. We want to support the hoop jumpers, the plate jugglers, the determined, the savvy and the almost broken at times but bloody passionate dreamers from Geelong through to Townsville,” says Jones.
To kick-start the community, the Soar Collective team need to raise $8000 to travel up the east coast interviewing some of regional Australia’s finest businesswomen. Through these stories, Jones hopes to inspire the next generation of female entrepreneurs so they stick with their dreams and big hairy audacious goals through the tough times.
“I know that the many towns that are nestled in our beautiful coastlines, valleys and farm lands are home to women who are holding on for dear life just knowing they’re onto a good thing. There are women who are struggling, who are striving – some are running on empty and I want them to know that I will be there to stand beside them, to inspire them to keep pushing to achieve their dreams,” says Jones.
“I know their struggles, I’ve felt them and they are what motivated me to foster the Soar Collective community. When I needed a push, a gentle reminder or motivation I have drawn upon the collective strength of our group to face each challenge.”
Since launching Soar Collective in regional Victoria, Jones has hosted 60 workshops and networking events, with over 800 attendees and a number of nationally recognised speakers who have made a name for themselves in small business. Speakers include Monique Milenkovic from The Cupcake Queens, Tina Tower from Begin Bright, Julia Bickerstaff from The Business Bakery, the queen of rice paper rolls, Nahji Chu and Melissa Morris from Thankyou to name a few.
“One of the best things about my job is hearing the stories of incredibly successful entrepreneurs and emerging talent, I am inspired, mentored and motivated by these women and I know the value of connecting with the community to grow my business – and to stay sane! This road trip is about being a lifeline to women, anywhere along their business journey, it is so important to me,” says Jones.
Jones hopes to raise enough funding to meet the costs of being on the road and hiring a film crew to document the stories of business women along the journey, and to pave the way to fostering a business community that can learn and grow together.
“This road trip means so much to me, I want our business community to be heard, I want regional business to be recognised for the impact it has on the economy, and I want my fellow business women to be celebrated for their successes big and small,” says Jones.
Inside Small Business