Asking for help is something I am not use to doing. And it gets worse. I have to see if they are interested in sponsoring a not-for-profit to help a local community that they may not have even heard of and that in most people's opinion has no relevance to them at all or their businesses.
Fortunately, most people have been incredibly kind and supportive and have gone out of their way to help. But it is hard to "ask" the question. I am trying to hide behind email, but I know face to face is always the best way to get a message across.
The question that many people ask is 'why', and my answer is simple: When you have been lucky enough to live the life I do, it's time to do more than just donate money to good causes. It's time to make a difference and use the skills, knowledge and contacts you have to change the outcomes of other people's lives.
I plan for The World Incubator to just be the start of things to come. When this becomes successful and we have a number of people who have built businesses that are sustainable employing locals, then this program can be rolled out all over Australia and the US.
What amazes me most is the support of locals, people I have never met who have put up their hands and asked how they can help with The World Incubator. That is what I call community support and there is nothing more powerful than a community.
What scares me the most about being put out of my comfort zone on this project:
- People won't care: The people I am talking to mostly don't even know where Charters Towers is, so why should they care? But I hope they do care because it is a small step to helping build a more sustainable community future and give young people the opportunity to believe that they can be anything they want to be.
- Government will not lend it's support: The local council is amazing. They are proactive, and will do anything to make their community a better place for people who live in Charters Towers. They are a passionate bunch of people who roll up their sleeves and do what it takes to make things happen. But the State Government and Federal Government are another story. They don't care. Seriously, it's as if unemployment isn't a problem. I am sorry that Charters Towers doesn't make your list of priorities but what you don't realize is that when this Incubator becomes successful, this program can be rolled out anywhere in Australia. This is a not-for-profit and the Government regularly supports initiatives just like this that are for profit. It will be interesting to see if they put their hands in their pockets.
- We won't find enough people to be in the incubator: I have a dream that there will be 1/3 indigenous participants, and 2/3 anyone else. It is really important that we encourage people with ideas no matter how big or small they are to give it a go. It is really important that people in the community believe that they too can be entrepreneurs and can create big businesses, exporting nationally and internationally out of Charters Towers.
- My involvement: I am just one person, and I have connected with some people I went to school with that are happy to help. But I am putting my face and name out there. While failure is not an option, it is very important that it isn't just me spruiking Charters Towers. It has to be an entire community of people, sharing on social media and anywhere else they can.
This has been on my mind for 2 years and now I am making it a reality. I won't lie and say that I don't have fears, because I do. But at the same time, I will step up to the podium and make this happen, pretending that no matter what I am brave enough to make this happen.
Please join us in supporting Charters Towers. The website will go live next week on Wednesday. Your support is everything.