By Meg Ryan, Baw Baw Startup Gippsland participant
Online and in-person workshops to help people improve their connection with their dog
Photo: Jakub Fabijanski Photo: Jakub Fabijanski Photo: Jakub Fabijanski
What started out as a hobby training with Meg’s own dogs over 20 years, working in and with shelter dogs, has developed into a passion and business for helping dogs and their owners to live in harmony together. We sit down with Meg to discuss how she has decided to apply for Startup Gippsland Program and what it meant for her startup, Balanced Paws to move forward.
Startup Gippsland: Let’s get to it! How did you learn about Startup Gippsland and what was your first thought about it?
Meg: I saw it on Facebook and thought it was above me and that I would not be good enough!
Startup Gippsland: Why did you want to join the program? What was the problem you were trying to solve?
Meg: I wanted guidance and support on how to grow my idea. I wanted to help reduce the number of council complaints and rehomed dogs.
Startup Gippsland: What was your experience like in the 12 weeks of the program?
Meg: I think the biggest difference between week 1 and 12 was the warmth, support and friendships in the room. It was like catching up with family. From a professional point of view, it was the depth and shared understanding of business discussions. We could talk a common language regardless of our speciality.
Startup Gippsland: What are the biggest benefits of you undertaking the program? Can you provide an example of how it worked for you?
Meg: The business connection that were formed or enable an introduction. I now have an accountant who understand my mission and can support me through this. I also made connection with Council staff who have provided introductions to colleagues for future endeavours.
Startup Gippsland: Have you discovered new or different users for your product/service, compared with original expectations? Are you still pursuing your original startup idea?
Meg: Whilst my original idea is still central to my current plans, the path has detoured slightly. I have just purchased an existing Doggy Day Care which will provide me with a regular income whilst allowing me to build/test some of my programs with a ready made audience. It means I can also tackle the issue from a different angle whilst building my reputation in the field.
Startup Gippsland: What was your biggest success after undertaking the program? Personal or professional (or both)!
Meg: A sense of being on the right path and an inner confidence that I can do this (or anything) and know better where to look for the right support/resources. Being part of the program has also made it easier to ask for assistance/describe what I am doing by saying: As part of StartUp Gippsland I need/want…
Startup Gippsland: what was the most important skill you’ve learnt, and a realisation you’ve had during/after the program?
Meg: Asking for help and being ok with a no for an answer.
Startup Gippsland: anything else you’d like to add?
Meg: Thank you guys for the opportunity to participate in the program, it was fantastic and all the staff have been amazing and supportive.
“The business connections were formed or enabled an introduction. I now have an accountant who understand my mission and can support me through this..”
“Being part of the program has also made it easier to ask for assistance/describe what I am doing by saying: As part of StartUp Gippsland I need/want…..”
Meg’s mentor was…
Sharon Coffey, HR Business Partner at Gippsland Water
Watch Meg’s Pitch
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