Rio Tinto Celebrates ‘Here for Business’ Success Stories 

Rio Tinto Celebrates ‘Here for Business’ Success Stories 

More than 100 of Gladstone’s community leaders and business owners gathered recently at the Gladstone Regional Art Gallery and Museum for the 16th annual Rio Tinto Community Fund event. Established in 2002, the Fund has committed more than $6 million to 55 programs designed to stimulate the local economy and improve services in the region. 

Split into two active programs — Here for Business and Here for Health — the Rio Tinto Community Fund is looking to bolster activity in 2019. The Here for Business Program provides business coaching and no interest micro-finance for new or existing businesses, while the Here for Health Program identifies opportunities to improve health services in Gladstone. 

Chair of the Fund and general manager of QAL, Mike Dunstan said working collaboratively with health industry stakeholders on ways to improve health services in the region and helping more business owners achieve their business dreams were the two top priorities for the year ahead. “We are dedicated to improving Gladstone’s business confidence and entrepreneurship success. We currently have five businesses participating in the Here for Business program, with seven already graduated, and we’re seeing the flow on effects of that success with employment opportunities expanding at these businesses as a result,” Mr Dunstan said. “On the health front, our Here for Health committee is undertaking baseline research to understand what barriers exist specifically to mental health services and whether enough services exist based on need. The research will be valuable to health practitioners and government agencies in the region.” 

The Here for Business Program offers mentoring and workshops in core foundational business principles which include marketing, risk assessment, legal & regulatory advice, self-awareness/emotional intelligence & financial modules. The program is set up to provide specific and tailored advice in these core areas.   

In order to be eligible for the Here for Business Program the business idea must be able to satisfy the following criteria; 

  1. The business must operate in the Gladstone Region 
  1. The business will likely generate employment outcomes within 24 months of operation 
  1. The business idea must be able to demonstrate sound business concepts 
  1. The idea must be “business ready” and ready to launch within 12 months 

Anyone with a great business idea or an existing business with an idea for growth can apply to access the Here for Business Program.  Applications can be made via http://www.hereforgladstone.com.au/here-for-business

Mr Dunstan explained, “The Rio Tinto Community Fund Committee has assembled a team of business coaches and mentors to help entrepreneurs refine their business plan and work with them to grow their business. We’re here to help” 

Recently graduated participants include; Kleanskins, QH2O, Epic Yoga and Lifestyle, Dance Kix, Unique Quality Care, PK’s Automotive and MPV Sandblasting.  

Here for Business participants, Matt and Cassie Vohland from MPV Sandblasting were overwhelmed with the difference the program has made to their business. “The support you get through the Here for Business program really helped us to understand things we had never thought of before,” Matt said. 

MPV Sandblasting graduated from the program in November 2018 and over the past 12 months have doubled their revenue, increased their employee numbers from one to four and have plans in place to offer an apprenticeship and two new jobs in 2019. Matt and Cassie received a microloan through the program which allowed them to expand their product and service line. MPV will be introducing a mobile unit in the New Year. 

The Rio Tinto Community Fund is proudly supported by Rio Tinto, QAL and Boyne Smelters Limited.