Sourdough Business Pathways celebrated ten years yesterday, back where it all started at Harvest Newrybar Bakery. Founding members Pat Grier, Paul Jameson, James Cowley and the late Ian Oelrichs originated the concept of mentoring, inspiring and supporting local business growth. As a small group of volunteers their collective mission was to protect existing jobs and create new jobs in the area with a focus on environmental and business sustainability.
Their vision was to embrace and share the skills and wisdom of newly relocated business people along with local business knowledge and expertise through a collaborative mentoring program.
Much like the sourdough bread that was always baking in the background (and the inspiration for the name) so too was the ‘Sourdough’ culture and vision they were creating for the business community.
The foundation of success for the group has been the facilitation of the wealth of experience in the region and the generosity of support in terms of good will, volunteer time, commitment, collaboration and involvement from the local business community.
This was evident in yesterday’s celebration with a sold out house of 90+ business people coming together through their collective involvement in Sourdough over the years from original founders to mentors, mentees, partners and supporters.
The thriving mentoring program remains at the heart of the program today and has seen so many purposeful community connections and innovative business ideas nurtured and realised. Over the years the group has had over a hundred mentors and over 300 mentees within its program and created over 200 learning and networking events.
“To have access to such clever business minds as are available through the Sourdough mentor program has been a business game changer for us. In 6 months we have doubled our revenue, created significant additional employment positions and solidified our business practices to ensure a best practice model.” Karina McKey, mentee.
As Sourdough looks to the next 10 years, a future of digital disruption, change, startups, sustainability and longevity of working years, the group is committed to support these needs through the breadth of programs such as mentoring and learning communities and connections to enable businesses to evolve and transform into tomorrow’s business.
‘We will continue to harness the region’s experience, to educate, to connect and to resource business relationships, that’s what Sourdough is really about. Our goal is to be the dynamic business hub of activity and knowledge that transforms this region.” Murray Richardson, Sub-Committee Chair.
As the celebrations concluded, each guest received a freshly baked sourdough loaf from Harvest Bakery to acknowledge their contribution to the Sourdough culture.