A Terrigal primary school teacher with 20 years’ experience in helping children learn and play but with limited knowledge of the business world turned to TAFE NSW’s Women in Business program to get a new sensory toys enterprise off the ground.
After using the program to build up her skills in areas such as tax, brand awareness and social media marketing, Christine McDonald is now preparing to open Bring and Play, a business supplying parents and carers with toys that develop children's sensory and fine motor skills while having fun.
Women in Business is a TAFE NSW and NSW Government initiative that provides free support and education to business women across the state.
“Being a mum of two young boys, having a job and starting a new small business means there is not much free time,” says Christine.
“But having access to webinars when it suits you and being able to pick and choose topics relevant to your individual journey made starting my business more of a reality then a dream.
“It also helped keep the passion alive.”
About one third of Australian businesses are now operated by women, with the program aiming to increase that rate by providing female entrepreneurs with fee-free help.
Lyn Rickard, general manager of TAFE Digital, said Christine was among thousands of women across the state learning how to start or build enterprises through the program.
“TAFE NSW research tells us that women starting a new business face some common challenges, such as not knowing how to get started, finding funding sources, or managing their work-life balance,” says Lyn.
“This program helps by allowing women to choose topics that suit them in a flexible environment, so they can gain the practical and theoretical knowledge they need to succeed.”
Thanks to that assistance, Christine will soon begin selling specially designed toys, craft kits and homemade playdough that will help children to become more dextrous with their hands while expanding their minds.
“The portable toys help children to develop those fine motor skills, encourage open-ended imagination and provides an alternative to phones and iPads,” says Christine.
“The free resources from the program have helped me to make it happen. It’s amazing – I’m so glad I found it.”
Christine plans to launch her products into the marketplace in Spring and has urged other women with dreams of working for themselves to tap into the women in business network and make their business dream come true.