Small business is the very heart and soul of most economies. Lithgow is no different. So, how do we sustain and grow our business base and support those looking to bring their ideas to fruition.
The Lithgow District Chamber of Commerce is about to create something unique and special. On 24th March, it will be hosting the inaugural Start Ups Information Session and Workshops, a program actively supporting and mentoring new business ideas and ventures.
Having received a Bushfire Local Economic Recovery funding grant, the Start Ups program is one of five exciting business events and programs the Chamber will be rolling out in 2022 and 2023.
What is appealing about the Start Ups program is the excellent group of entrepreneurs and experienced mentors and business advisers the Chamber has assembled.
One of those is Neil Schembri, a ‘local’, who turned opportunity into a major and highly successful business.
Neil is quiet achiever, entrepreneur and business leader in the field of recycling and re-purposing old industrial sites. Now a joint owner of Greenspot, Neil is turning its attention to building a significant employment hub featuring renewable energy production on the site of the old Wallerawang Power Station.
Neil had the vision to do something great with the site, even after Energy Australia had earmarked the site for complete demolition. It wasn’t easy. It took five years and three expressions of interest for Energy Australia to respond. Never one to give up easily, it took another 18 months of negotiations before he convinced them to sell the site to him.
He said ‘I could see the way through the problems and issues at hand. Sure, it was complicated, it was a big deal and it was a monster – but it was nothing that couldn’t be worked through and achieved with the right type of thinking and team with me’.
‘Having a vision or an idea for a new business is just the start of creating a business. To be successful requires firstly knowing the market you want to work in, knowing what kind of gaps there are in the market that your potential business can fill and then having the perseverance and determination to see the idea through’, says Schembri.
Neil wants the Lithgow community to be part of the Greenspot journey. If this happens, everyone wins and eventually the old Power Station site will be a hub of activity, creating employment opportunities for everyone in the region and beyond.
He has ideas for little start-ups that can also benefit the local community and contribute to the future growth of the entire region. There is so much that can be created and achieved on the old Power Station site.
People wanting a chance to speak to Neil about his business career, his challenges, his inspiration behind recycling and repurposing or to get some insights about his start up ideas can register for the Start Ups Information Session on 24 March between 9am-12pm.
For those wanting to be part of a business advice and mentoring program, they can stay after lunch to pitch their ideas to business experts and/or can sign up for monthly mentoring workshops at the Western Sydney University’s Lithgow Transformation Hub. Registrations are essential by emailing Natasha@lithgow.org.au or calling on 0403 397 645 for more details.
The Start Ups Information Session will give you –
- An opportunity to meet and talk to experienced business experts and successful entrepreneurs
- An understanding of what funding and business support is available to you
- A place to discuss your idea
- The possibility to enrol in a monthly workshop program where you can be mentored through your Start Ups journey