City of Dubbo NSW

On the list, next to my name, it said, “Dubbo NSW”. I was being sent for work.

“You’re kidding right?” I thought to myself. Why in the world would anyone want to move there? Last time I was in town, I was passing through, and some kids threw rocks at my car. Aside from that, I saw the bad stories that would make it to the news in Sydney (I vaguely remember an image of a car on fire).

I was sent here about 10 years ago. Now I’m married (to a Dubbo girl), built and sold my first house in Dubbo and decided to do it all again, right here. When I decided to go back into business, I could have packed everything and headed back to Sydney. In fact, my former colleagues, in highly paid sales and IT jobs, are still shaking their heads about my decision to stick around.

“Why would you stay there? And why the hell would you start a business in Dubbo?”, my former work mates joked, as we sat and drank overpriced lattes and ate cruffins in a Sydney City cafe.

We bought our first house here

Well, let me give it a shot. While I might be on half the income of some of my Sydney mates, my wife and I were able to build our first home here much sooner than I could have otherwise. Dubbo NSW’s property market was already booming but in the last 12 months alone new homes have gone up 25.4 percent. Perhaps a symptom of people moving here to fill jobs, with local unemployment down to 2.9 percent. Word on the street is local businesses are still trying to fill vacancies too.

Dubbo is booming

Dubbo NSW is home to over 55,000 people and that population has grown by 1.2 percent per year, on average, for the last 10 years. Gross Regional Product or GRP has grown by $565 million in that time, which means we’re pumping money back into our local economy. Perhaps a drop in the ocean compared to metropolitan communities but a sign that we’re growing every year.

2 degrees of seperation

If everyhwere else on Earth has 6 degress of seperation, Dubbo has 2. If I don’t know someone, I know someone else who can introduce me. Whatever business you want to start or career you want to pursue, imagine the impact you can have when you’re only one introduction away from meeting some interesting and inspiring people, who are already making a difference.

Dubbo NSW investments

Dubbo Chamber of Commerce has a solid membership base and holds regular, well attended events. Yesterday, I attended one of their regular business breakfasts, where the Manager of Regional Experiences and the Cultural Development Coordinator, from Dubbo Regional Council, presented. We had an update on ongoing projects to boost the local economy, including the Dubbo Wiradjuri Tourism Centre, new Riverside Events Precinct and the Heritage Plaza Project at the Old Dubbo Gaol. Combined these projects will see over $12.5 million invested; not to mention the flow on effects of the businesses selected to run, maintain or occupy these spaces.

Of course, this falls shy of telling the whole story. Momentum Trains and the Inland Rail Project are 2 projects that will have a significant (and positive) impact throughout the broader Orana Region. Plus, there’s private projects, too many to list. Safe to say Dubbo NSW is on the move.

Resources for startups and freelancers

Where should you start if you want to do business in town? Well, if you’re a freelancer or microbusiness owner and want to start small, you can. We are spoilt for local cafes to work from, not to mention our co-working spaces at The Exchange or Creativer if you want to work somewhere you can brainstorm with other creatives.

Enough about business. I’m 10 minutes from anywhere here. As my wife explained to Catriona Rowntree (yes, we name drop around here), she’s only “one Shania Twain song away from work”.

Cost of living is affordable. We have great sunrises, sunsets, a thriving retail precinct, amazing cafes, cool people and we can do it all. After we do it all, we still have the time and energy for our weekend breakfast out or barbeque with family or friends.

So, you know what? I think I will stick around, at least until I work out what I want to do when I grow up (if ever)! Perhaps I asked the wrong question from the start. The real question is, why the hell wouldn’t you start a business in Dubbo NSW?

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