By Liz Fleming, Startup Gippsland mentor
Mentor for the inaugural Startup Gippsland 2019 pre-accelerator program. Guided an early-stage startup through both business and founder challenges. Shared advice and ideas, through challenge and collaboration with my mentees.
Liz is an energetic Chartered Accountant with extensive industry experience and knowledge. Strategic thinker and problem solver, she has a strong interest in the economy. As a mentor experienced in accounting and business operations, Liz worked with our startup participants, Kingfisher Citrus to improve their strategic planning, help with business process improvements and focus on the right parts of their startup business.
Startup Gippsland: Liz, please tell us what were the biggest benefits of mentoring for you?
The greatest benefits of mentoring for Startup Gippsland were to see solutions and ideas for the various challenges faced, and focus applied to the business, and striving for new developments in their business. Having the courage to try something new with the support of the mentor, with little idea of how the customers may receive the new ideas. They gained confidence in their ability as business owners, as they knew their business the best! They developed strategies to ensure they were working "on" the business, not "in" the business. Setting goals and having a clear direction of where they wanted to go in the future was key. Navigating different family priorities within the business structure, but also being open to ideas and new opportunities was critical to their success, combined with open and transparent communication.
Startup Gippsland: What was your Mentor Experience in the 12 weeks of the program?
My mentor experience was thoroughly enjoyable with my mentees, Kingfisher Citrus Directors, Aimee & Lynton Fisher. At the beginning, there was a great connection formed between us all, sharing our experiences of life, business and upbringing, which was very aligned!
Having come from a farming background, I could understand their struggles and sacrifices they had over the past 15 years, in relation to their citrus farm and marketing strategies of selling their produce.
Their business is very seasonal, so it was important to understand how they best operated and the challenges they faced in their industry. I thoroughly enjoyed the StartUp Gippsland Mentor program. It was my first time as a business mentor so I had little idea of what the expect, so it’s suffice to say my experience far exceeded beyond my expectations at the beginning.
I was excited at the opportunity presented to me, to be part of the brand new Startup Program in my local area, Gippsland. Being a Chartered Accountant, I have a wealth of financial and business knowledge that I wanted to share with others. I myself, am a life-learner and thrive on challenging myself and others to reach their potential. I have a strong passion for local community and ensuring that regional areas are represented in the business work and taking on the opportunities that are presented.
My mentees, Aimee and Lynton have been amazing, we still catch up regularly for mentor sessions and as friends. They are both such warm and kind people, family-orientated with a great zest for life. I admire their dedication, their hard work, their resilience and their passion for their produce and their people, including their loyal customers. They are community-minded, great advocates for supporting local events and contributing to the Gippsland and Melbourne communities.
Both Aimee and Lynton have a growth mindset and always dream about what could be possible, and ‘have a crack’. My farming background combined with my business experience has meant that connection and breadth of challenges has been able to be developed with some very successful outcomes and progress for their business. I absolutely thrived on this experience, I always looked forward to our weekly catch-ups, and I was immensely proud of all they had achieved during the time of the program ,and their pitch at the Showcase event in June 2019. After my experience as a Startup Gippsland mentor, I am well and truly part of the Kingfisher family.
"The greatest benefits of mentoring for Startup Gippsland were to see solutions and ideas for the various challenges faced, and focus applied to the business."
"A great learning and growth experience for both parties."
Watch Aimee's & Lynton's Pitch
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