The campaign was started by Grace Brennan in October 2019, three years into a drought that had crippled agricultural communities in Australia’s east, including her farm in Warren.
Grace saw that regional and remote businesses were suffering due to the drought, but believed in their entrepreneurial spirit. She felt strongly that social media could be the lifeline to connect bush businesses to new metropolitan customers.
The new report from research agency AlphaBeta seeks to quantify the impact that BFTB has had on remote and regional economies, female entrepreneurship and communities over a four-month period.
BFTB proved to be extremely successful, with analysis of the campaign revealing significant increases in revenue, jobs and market access for regional and remote Australian businesses.
A total of $5 million in revenue was generated for featured businesses, connecting them with new customers in Australia and overseas.
Three quarters of featured businesses now ship interstate and almost 20% began exporting to overseas markets for the first time.
Closing this gap has also created new employment opportunities with one in five featured businesses hiring staff to meet demand generated through the campaign.
Who has the campaign benefited more?
The campaign has been particularly impactful among female entrepreneurs.
The vast majority of featured businesses were female-owned and many have seen BFTB as a community of like-minded women who encouraged and supported each other to learn new skills, pursue their interests, and meet their goals.
Further, the BFTB experience has encouraged 45% of female entrepreneurs to learn a new technical skill – marketing and advertising; IT proficiency; and business and financial literacy foremost among them.
Businesses surveyed reported that the increase in disposable income from the campaign helped them enjoy greater freedom and give back to their communities.
Ninety percent of business owners said BFTB had improved their quality of life by boosting their self-esteem, reducing financial pressure and connecting them with other entrepreneurs so they felt less alone.
As Australia emerges from a new crisis – COVID19 – it is hoped that the entrepreneurial spirit, resilience and business capability that BFTB brings will continue and serve as an inspiration to many more business owners across the country.
Download the full report: Economic Impact Evaluation: Buy from the Bush, AlphaBeta May 2020
This article first appeared as ‘Buy From the Bush: Building bush economies and communities’ on Facebook Business.