Why am I passionate about The University of Sydney’s Remote and Rural Enterprise (RARE) Program?
It’s a placement initiative offering students a fantastic opportunity to gain real world experience by assisting remote and rural entrepreneurs in solving pressing business problems. These enterprises operate in isolated markets with limited access to resources, presenting a unique and challenging environment to develop and grow a business venture. The RARE Program provides students the chance to take theoretical and academic frameworks gleaned from their postgraduate studies and apply them in a setting where their efforts directly impact enterprise owners in need of assistance.
By combining these two groups – entrepreneurs and students with an interest in social ventures - we get this great synergy. Remote and rural entrepreneurs get fresh new ideas, free consulting advice and capacity development while students earn real life experience and the opportunity to make a valuable social contribution. A few weeks into each semester, the RARE Program funds student travel to the remote enterprise for a week of on-site learning and consultation. Then it’s up to both parties to continue working together to complete the final deliverable over the course of the semester.
The RARE program is now on offer every semester including summer and winter session, with projects existing in seven different units of study across the International Business Discipline. Having expanded the program, we now work with the Architecture Faculty and the Masters of Sustainability Program with further expansion planned for the MBA Program and Engineering Faculty. Having the ability to send a multi-disciplinary team of students from various backgrounds will enhance the quality of final outcomes and provide remote entrepreneurs with an even greater breadth of options in solving their specific challenges.
At the end of the day, RARE is all about building long-term relationships with remote communities and providing a service that mutually benefits all parties involved. We’re not a consultancy that flies into a community, does some work, gets paid and disappears. We’re not motivated by money, but rather the opportunity to promote research and shared learnings while making a real difference in the communities we operate. It’s a lot of fun and we’re excited to grow the RARE Program further in 2014 and beyond.
Author: Noah Stewart – Remote and Rural Enterprise (RARE) Coordinator Discipline of International Business