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Making an impact, above and beyond university: RARE annual gathering

14 Nov 2013

Sue Ogilvy is the Co-Founder of a Canberra-based social enterprise called My Farm Shop. The company produces 'sustainable' meat products and in doing so, Sue and her husband hope to contribute in a small way to "saving the world".

At a recent end of year function, Sue Ogilvy thanked students and staff at the University of Sydney Business School for making her task just that little bit easier.

These students, she said, had provided valuable insights into the challenges facing My Farm Shop and had recommended innovative solutions which were backed by quality research and contemporary theories.

The collaborative project between Ms. Ogilvy's company and The Business School was one of 17 projects run by the Remote and Regional Enterprise (RARE) program which promotes two-way learning and development exchanges between students and enterprises in regional Australia.

The RARE program offers students the opportunity to apply their knowledge and research to real-world business situations. Litia Kirwin, one of the students who participated in RARE admitted that this was more challenging than she had originally anticipated. "In the real world, the problem can be much more complex than what may be learnt on paper," Litia said. "We've learnt so much by doing, rather than just by reading."

Litia, and three other students advised the regional community of Narooma on business opportunities flowing from the local production of the River Cottage Australia television series, a program which has delivered the second largest consolidated audience for The LifeStyle Channel year-to-date. Not only did the students gain a wealth of knowledge, they were also featured in the local media for their contributions.

The impact of RARE's contributions also stretched along the NSW-Victoria border with the NSW State Heritage-Listed Bundian Way project, a land and sea path with a 40,000 year history. John Blay, Project Officer, confirmed his belief that, after being involved with the Business School's RARE program, the future of the Bundian Way's vision to preserve natural resources and sustain Aboriginal cultural heritage, looked promising.

"The Remote and Rural Enterprise (RARE) Program was a great success in 2013", said Noah Stewart, Innovation and Enterprise Outreach Coordinator of the program.

"With over 45 student placements assisting 17 communities, and the addition of a new RARE Coordinator and RARE Consultant, we are poised to expand the program further in 2014. We look forward to offering RARE projects in all four semesters and growing the network of commercial and social enterprises with whom we work."

For more information on the Remote and Rural Enterprise program and how you can support or participate in the program in 2014, please visit the RARE website.