Following on from the success of last year, we are delighted to welcome back Buninyong & District Community Branch (BDCB) of Bendigo Bank as sponsors of the 2020 Ballarat Upstart Challenge! Thanks to their generous support, BDCB have sponsored the program fee for 8 Ballarat schools to participate.

We caught up with the team to see what they are most looking forward to as sponsors this year…

Why is the Buninyong & District Community Branch (BDCB) of Bendigo Bank excited to be sponsoring the 2020 Upstart Challenge?

This is our second year of involvement and we are incredibly impressed with the program. It aligns perfectly with our Youth Investment Strategy as part of our Community Investment Program (the reason we exist). BDCB supports other educational programs and we are 100% behind an initiative that encourages creative and independent thinking, innovation, entrepreneurship and networking. These are the pillars for creating desirable skillsets. We are all for helping the next generation of leaders, creative thinkers and doers pave their own way and make significant impact in their careers and within our community.

Why do you think learning entrepreneurial skills is important for Ballarat’s young people?

The Upstart Challenge creates skills for life. Whether someone chooses to pursue a career in entrepreneurship is irrelevant, it’s the development of a skillset envied by others. These are the types of skills not traditionally taught in the education system, and are not normally learned till on the job (if at all). Early development of these skills transfers into desirable qualities in the workplace regardless. The ability to demonstrate creativity, problem solving, innovative thinking, leadership and build meaningful relationships are all highly sought after qualities both now and in futuristic workplaces.

What are you most looking forward to as a sponsor in this year’s Challenge?

The Buninyong & District Community Bank is rewarded by seeing young people get creative, step up and take the opportunity given. Upstart can be a defining experience and it’s available for the taking. The shared experience with others, the creation of new networks, the experimentation of career alternatives and creating skills for life should not be over looked. The presentation expo is a wonderful showcase of talent, ideas, innovative thinking and networking.

Who are some entrepreneurs you admire, and why?

As an organisation, we admire and support social enterprise businesses that give back within the communities that they operate. As an example, our organisation was established under the model Rob Hunt created while he was CEO of Bendigo Bank 22 years ago. At the time, banks were disappearing from small communities and the outlook was dire. His thinking was different: to establish community–owned banks not as a means of increasing market share, but to ensure the sustainability of small townships. This model has been hugely successful and now boasts 322 banks in communities nationally. This business model is all about feeding into the prosperity of a community, not off it. This in itself is a wonderful example of entrepreneurial thinking.

What advice or words of wisdom would you share with students looking to take part in the Upstart Challenge this year?

Be brave, be adventurous, and take advantage of new experiences and opportunities that you will look back on as defining moments later in life. The Upstart Challenge is a different way of learning, a practical way to gain experiences and by doing so, you will see the world slightly differently. Keep an open mind, step outside your comfort zone and most importantly… take action.

In a creative and crowded world, don’t rely on social media, look to history from a month ago or years ago and learn from others, read avidly, question the status quo. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel to make a difference, but do it your way.

You can learn more about The Buninyong & District Community Bank and their community work by visiting their website here.