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March 7, 2021

Demographer describes Northern Rivers as entrepreneurial hotspot

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Demographer Bernard Salt of KPMG.
Demographer Bernard Salt of KPMG.

Renowned demographer, Bernard Salt of KPMG, will tomorrow be revealing just why the Northern Rivers region has been named as one of the top entrepreneurial hotspots in the country.

Mr Salt will be the guest speaker at a business breakfast meeting taking place at the Lismore City Hall on Tuesday from 7.30am to 9am.

He will be speaking about the Northern Rivers lifestylepreneur report, commissioned by nbn, which reveals that there has been a four per cent uplift in local start-ups (1-4 employees) in the last two years, in part due to the region’s increased connectivity through access to fast broadband.

The research reveals business owners are embracing digital technologies to expand in to new markets and highlights key pockets such as Kingscliff (up 19 per cent), Mullumbimby (up 19 per cent) and Bangalow (up 18 per cent) are leading the charge.

Strong tourism numbers continue to drive growth in the accommodation and retail service businesses in the region. However, sectors such as public administration (up 50 per cent), utilities (up 50 per cent) and education (up 25 per cent) have shown the greatest uplift since 2015.

KPMG Special Advisor and Demographer, Bernard Salt said the Northern Rivers had all the right attributes to make it a lifestylepreneur destination.

‘It has a thriving population, growing cultural sector, great weather and a private sector workforce,’ Mr Salt said.

‘With increased connectivity and access to cloud-based applications, the barriers of distance which once existed in towns such as Byron Bay will fade as local business owners will be able to connect and compete on a global stage.

‘In order to effectively work outside of the capital cities, small businesses require the ability to send files, store data and to easily interact with clients and staff. I anticipate with greater access to the nbnTM broadband access network, we’ll see more entrepreneurs flock to this lifestyle location.’

nbn’s State Corporate Affairs Advisor for New South Wales, Marcela Balart said job growth, innovation and opportunity were no longer restricted to businesses within the major cities as fast broadband provided small and medium businesses similar access to their big city counterparts.

‘As the rollout of the nbnTM broadband access network ramps up within the Northern Rivers region, we are seeing local businesses maximise their productivity and improve their work-life balance by embracing new technology.’

Co-founder of online fashion business, Bimby + Roy, Mindy Halabe said she and her sister were living in different states when they first started their business so being able to communicate was crucial to running their online fashion business.

‘Whether it’s responding to orders, using cloud-based marketing tools for our creative designs or communicating with each other via video chat, having access to the nbnTM broadband access network makes it possible for us to live in separate states, while continuing to expand our business across the country,’ she said.

There are more than 50,000 homes and businesses in the Northern Rivers region which are currently able to connect to the nbnTM broadband access network through a retailer. Construction work to build the network for an additional 27,000 homes and businesses across Byron Bay, Hastings Point, Terranora and Lismore is also underway.

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    • My internet provider (iinet) says that the reason my connectivity is so appalling is that too many people are now using local facilities (Mullumbimby) … and that there are no upgrades in the pipeline.

      shame the buzz isn’t hitting the ground!

  1. I agree with Dan, it makes it very difficult for ‘business owners to embrace digital technologies to expand in to new markets’ when they can’t even stream music continuously!

  2. The NBN is a failure too expensive, too unreliable and too slow despite Malcolms rhetoric. Adsl remains better what a joke!

  3. We knew internet speed was a potential issue for us setting up Sustainable Valley coworking space and innovation hub in Byron Bay, but instead of it paralysing the concept we decided to work on testing new tech.
    We can proudly offer speeds over 80 mb/s down and 50 mb/s up (in the top 5% speed bracket for Australia) as recorded and displayed on our page (we have four lines serving this speed to our members). We believe that yes internet speeds can improve, but if you want fast internet it is possible to have it now. Our community is looking forward to the NBN rollout and believe that it will enable and empower many people in the region, we are all very excited about the future for Northern Rivers.


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