Peter is the NORTEC Small Business Solutions Manager, heading up the dynamic NORTEC team of business advisors and coordinators of all the unit’s small business support offerings, including the NSW Government funded Business Connect program and the Australian Government funded New Enterprise Incentive Scheme and Australian Small Business Advisory programs. The suite of programs NORTEC deliver offer small business start up and business development support for small business owners in our region.
Peter’s work life history has been in Sales and Sales Management across NSW and the Gold Coast regions and he has also been the owner of two successful small businesses on the Gold Coast for the past 4 1/2 years, including his first experience with a franchised retail Gelato store.
“Operating a franchised business gave me the tools to begin trading immediately with a proven formula in and around managing stock, rosters and sales”.
His second business which he acquired and still operates today is an independent retail Newsagency.
Nothing prepares a business owner for the realities of actually running it on your own! At the time Peter started, he wasn’t aware of the range of support out there for Small Business. Both the NSW State and Australian Federal Government Small Business programs are fantastic for anyone thinking of starting up a new business and/or already have a trading business.
Peter has a passion for Small Business (the backbone of our region’s economy) and he is committed to providing the best possible outcomes for all Small Business Owners across the NORTEC footprint including the Mid North Coast, New England, Northern NSW and Gold Coast Qld.
Gary Wheatstone is a Business Advisor and Program Coordinator. He has been involved with large corporate organisations, smaller family run operations and been a small business owner. Beginning his career in Sydney, Gary worked in retail, payroll and manufacturing covering industries including marine, construction, architectural design and electrical.
Moving to the north coast of NSW and purchasing an existing business was a steep learning curve. Financing, procurement, customer service excellence, marketing, managing cashflow, staffing and all the other hats that a small business owner wears in a day became necessary skills. Gary is passionate about small business in regional areas. He has 23 plus years of experience as a small business owner in both retail and wholesale in a country town. He understands what a business owner has to deal with day to day.
Gary has a Diploma of Management, Bachelor of Social Science and Cert IV Training and Assessment.
He is highly experienced in assisting clients wishing to start a new enterprise or improve their existing business. He supports small business owners to plan for the future by analysing the current situation and collaboratively devising a strategic plan to move forward to a sustainable future.
Joanne Rapa is a NEIS Coordinator with NORTEC Small Business Solutions. She has been delivering the NORTEC NEIS program for almost 3 years and in this time has developed a program that has assisted numerous small businesses on the NSW North Coast.
Joanne has a strong background in costume and fashion design, establishing a freelance costume business within the film, television and theatre industry for 15 years in Sydney. After relocating to the NSW North Coast she developed a NEIS business in which she supplied ready to wear women’s clothing at local and interstate boutique markets and also developed a successful custom making fashion and homewares business.
Joanne is now applying her knowledge and experience to the NEIS program and is assisting Jobseekers in fulfilling their dreams of starting and managing their own businesses. She coordinates the NEIS program in the NSW North Coast, Mid North Coast, New England and the Gold Coast with the support of a dedicated NORTEC NEIS Team.
Michelle is our all-important Administration Officer at NORTEC Small Business Solutions, handling the team’s workshop and client bookings, accounts, customer enquiries and much more!
A local to the Byron Shire since 1989, Michelle has raised her family here and supported her husband’s business as well. Her background is in real estate and with a career spanning over 20 years she has performed roles in reception, property management, all the way to business development and marketing. Michelle has also worked in media, gaining valuable knowledge in the world of media and newspaper marketing, not only in print but online.
Her passion is fundraising for local causes and event management – she enjoys helping a friend with her Wedding Venue business and to add more into the mix she has just launched her own Byron Shire Gift Hamper business.
Being able to support regional small business owners is the main reason Michelle joined NORTEC Small Business Solutions.
Sam Tebbutt is the Business Connect Advisor from Byron Bay through to Tweed heads and across the Byron and Tweed Shires in the Northern Rivers of NSW.
He is responsible for delivering face to face business support services and works with small business owners to assist them to achieve their goals through high quality, personalised and in depth support.
Sam is focused on client centric communication and has developed a habit of really listening to understand his clients deeply. With extensive experience in New Business development across a range of industries in small business. Sam is ready and able to share many of the valuable and hard earned lessons learnt in business.
With qualifications in both HR and Business Management, Sam is dedicated to help businesses grow capacity and connections and getting them to the next level of success, no matter where the business is in the process right now.
Felisimina Jom is a Business Advisor and workshop facilitator, helping businesses navigate through the Business Elevate Program.
For 14 years Felisimina started and ran a digital agency in the creative hub of Surry Hills (Sydney), providing web solutions for small to medium businesses. Felisimina’s specialty was in helping businesses understand how to take advantage of the web and design solutions with the client’s customers and client teams in mind. She also worked intensively with clients in delivering email marketing campaigns and producing online advertising.
Prior to running the digital agency, Felisimina’s early career began in the corporate world of change management – specifically in learning design and development. Felisimina holds a Bachelor of Business (Marketing) and a Post Graduate Diploma in Counselling and Psychotherapy.
Felisimina’s passion is for understanding the unique challenges each business faces and identifying how the business owners and team can utilise their strengths to achieve their goals.
Derek Tink is a Business Advisor for the Tamworth Region. He has experience across a range of industries, spanning agribusiness, tourism, retail and health.
Derek has delivered specialist advice within the region including business development, marketing, digital strategy and organisational management.
A passionate ‘regional local’ who is committed to supporting regional and rural business opportunities.
Derek is involved with community groups and charity activities across the region.
Jenny Rock is the Business Connect advisor for the Richmond region and she has 25 years in Business development experience, gained across a range of industries including Finance, Hospitality, Recruitment Services, Creative Industries, Disability Sector, Retail and Agriculture.
Jenny has highly developed skills in Business start-up support including working with Aboriginal business owners. Her key expertise is in business development, strategic planning, innovation and change management with honed skills in budgeting, business planning, recruitment and retention, market research, marketing and strategic planning.
Clive Venning is a Business Advisor and Workshop Facilitator in the Far North Coast of NSW and Gold Coast Qld. Clive has over 25 years experience with running his own two small businesses in digital print and direct mail marketing, which were built by him from the ground up and successfully continue to operate today in national and international markets.
“It would have been fantastic when I was starting out, to have had the type of support and access to the various grants, workshops, seminars and mentoring that are available to small business today”.
Clive is experienced in small business start up and development. Prior to developing his own businesses, Clive worked many years for the Australia Post as National Sales and Product Manager – Electronic Sales. Clive’s expertise is in brand differentiation, product development and start up or development support for small businesses.
Clive’s motto is: The most important thing is to believe in yourself and never give up!
Robyn Simon is the Business Connect Advisor for the Nambucca, Bellingen, Coffs Harbour and Clarence Valley local government areas. Having moved to the beautiful Coffs Coast two years ago, Robyn absolutely loves the climate, lifestyle and the people.
Robyn has a background working with small business including running her own marketing and public relations business. Her experience includes several years working for the City of Sydney Council managing the City’s inner precincts, small bars and laneways programs.
She is passionate about small business and the opportunities the future holds.
“The Coffs Coast and Clarence Valley areas are two of the fastest growing regions in New South Wales so it’s a great time to be working with small businesses, helping them to take advantage of the upsurge in confidence and investment in the area”.
“We see a lot of younger people relocating to the area for family and lifestyle reasons, and many are keen to set up their own enterprise”. Robyn is equally keen to apply her wealth of experience to help existing businesses ensure they are “future ready”. She is an avid follower of business trends and uses a range of tools and techniques to help businesses gain traction with their business plans and online marketing.
If you are a small business owner in the Coffs or Clarence regions, Robyn invites you to contact her on 0438 525 594 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark Sweet is a NEIS Mentor/Trainer for the Mid North Coast and comes with a wealth of experience in recruitment, training and marketing both in Australia and overseas.
Commencing his career in the Hospitality and Tourism industry Mark has a strong customer service and sales focus, having managed State Sales Teams for hotel groups and experienced senior operational management positions.
More recent positions have included regional management roles in Group training, vocational training delivery, national training coordination roles and recruitment positions.
Having lived on the Mid North Coast of NSW for the past 10 years, Mark has developed a real interest working with the small business community through training, mentoring and nurturing. As a previous small business owner Mark understands the importance of small business to the economy of Northern NSW.
Mark’s passion is training and particularly in the delivery of training in business management and staff development. Mark also enjoys working with the unemployed, developing life skills and training in the preparation for securing employment and business opportunities.
The NORTEC NEIS Administrator for the Gold Coast and the first point of contact for interested NEIS applicants and Work Advisors on the Gold Coast.
Deb has worked as a key member of a team for many years in both large organisations and has also worked in small businesses in the Gold Coast region. This experience has given her a good understanding of the ups and downs in operating a small business.
Deb places value in strong communication and customer service allowing her to support her clients in achieving their goals.
Margo Muir is a NORTEC NEIS Mentor/Trainer for the Gold Coast region. She has comprehensive small business management experience. Margo has owned and operated businesses in the Hospitality and Civil Construction industries.
Margo has more than 15 years’ experience working in labour market programs on the Gold Coast including Employment Services and Apprenticeship Services at management level.
Danielle Quealy is a NEIS Administrator for the North Coast Region.
Danie has had may years’ experience working with both large and small organisations leading teams with a strong background in employment, customer service, recruitment, administration and community work. Danie’s recent position was with a job services company helping people return to work which she was very passionate about and her most recent achievement was completing a Diploma in Counselling and Graduate certificate in Gestalt Therapy.
Helps job seekers transform their talent into successful small businesses. Sue was an intern at the Armidale Business Chamber for the past two years and was responsible for assisting businesses and forward-focused individuals gain recognition for their achievements at the Business Chamber Awards.