StartUp

THE COLLEGIATE Shag may sound like a popular past time most of us adopted in our 20s, but rather it’s a celebration of the 20’s in a different way – swing dancing.

The newest swingers club in Gladstone, Sugar Foot Swing, is breathing new life into the Lindy Hop, Balboa and Charleston. If you’ve never heard of these dance styles, you may have heard of Janis Barker, the woman behind the concept.

She is just one business venture contributing to StartUp Gladstone, a local group of entrepreneurs supporting one another in successful business. After relocating to Gladstone, a gap into the local dance culture saw Janis begin her own business combining passion and profitability.

The founder of Sugar Foot Swing and financial member of Startup says she wanted to invest more time into her hobby. The only way to make this viable was to evolve into a business. When she arrived at this conclusion, she knew she’d need support and guidance. Enter StartUp Gladstone.

“I run a dance class teaching swing dance around central Queensland,” she said. “If like my classes to get to a point where my students can become teachers. They can earn money for their new hobby, as well as freeing up my resources to keep expanding the business, opening new venues and classes.”

Creative pursuits hold more potential in the future of business than ever before. However, the challenges of business are omnipresent. “Don’t think of problems, think of solutions,” says Janis. “There’s always so many reasons to not take a risk with a business venture, but with enough planning and support you can reduce the risk.”

Janis says the one piece of advice that’s continued to help her at any level is to never stop asking questions. “That’s what’s so great about StartUp,” she said. “It’s invaluable to meet people who have been through very similar business situations.”

Networking with operators and entrepreneurs within the same business environment in Gladstone is strengthening the entire landscape. As the local economy faces its own challenges, collaboration is key. “StartUp has been great for offering networking opportunities and so much encouragement and support,” she said. “It’s great to be able to share with like-minded people who either have been through or are going through the same risks and doubts as I am.”

Future plans for Sugar Foot Swing includes a Jazz and Swing music event and allowing the community to fall further in love with the 20s/30s and 40s all over again.

StartUp Gladstone meets on the third Wednesday of every month. The next meeting will be held at Say Espresso in Tannum Sands on April 19 from 5:30pm. For further information contact cas@gladstone.qld.gov.au