Professor Retha Weisner’s WiRE (Women in Rural, Regional and Remote Enterprises) program has won the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation’s (CSIRO) ON Prime Facilitators award for the Toowoomba region.

The ON Prime awards recognise excellent performance in bringing together and encouraging people in hands-on, practical learning and business model development.

WiRE endeavours to empower female entrepreneurs to achieve their start-up dreams and grow their business or community ventures without leaving rural parts of the country.

The program focuses on developing individual and organisational awareness, participation, skills, entrepreneurial behaviour and competencies through building support networks and sharing knowledge.

Weisner and her team have spent the last six months touring and working in regional Queensland, helping these entrepreneurial women create businesses and pursue their own initiatives.

Wiesner said it was a rigorous but rewarding process.

“What helped was the existing intensive analysis of the project and its outcomes gathered during the WiRE regional innovation popups across Queensland,” said Weisner.

“That’s allowed us to develop our program to ensure it meets the needs of women in regional areas.”

WiRE is a collaboration between University of Southern Queensland’s (USQ) Australian Centre for Sustainable Business and Development (ACSBD), Queensland Rural Regional and Remote Women’s Network (QRRRWN), Startup Toowoomba and Fire Station 101 Innovation Centre.

Read about the Women of Strength luncheon here.