Last year Jo Palmer, founder of Pointer Remote Roles, won $40,000 in St.George’s 2019 Kick Start Program in the ‘fast pitch’ category; the pitching process gave her the confidence in business articulation and skill, and the money gave her the opportunity to hire her first employee with reassurance.
Jo founded her business in 2017, with two other successful companies under her belt in the education and agricultural sectors.
Pointer is an inclusive remote workforce solutions platform, which aims to connect employers with highly skilled remote employees, encouraging more meaningful and skilled work in regional towns and areas.
Jo is passionate about breaking down barriers to employment and creating workforces where everyone can be proud of their identity.
The Kick Start Program has enabled Jo to do that as its aim is to financially support winners to help them grow their small business or to get their initial idea off the ground.
Winners across categories can win a share of $100,000, of which Jo took home $40,000 after pitching in front of a live audience.
We spoke to Jo about her grant success, and her future business plans.
Tell us more about Pointer!
Founded in March 2017, we are a remote workforce solutions company. We help businesses find the best talent for their organisation, regardless of either party’s location.
We offer training for team leaders and the remote workers, home office WHS audits and we run workshops to upskill both organisations and their workers around making remote work, work.
What category did you enter the Kick Start program under – to start your idea or to grow it?
To grow an existing business.
When did you realise you might have a winning business idea?
I previously ran an events company remotely with my co-founder and I was talking to some of my ‘girl friends’ who had married farmers about their plight to find meaningful work in regional towns.
I spoke to my friends about the business idea and they agreed that it would be help them to find work. From that point, we started to research and noticed a gap in the market.
Upon launching, the business started to grow rapidly and we had customers within the first week.
We quickly realised that we were onto something and that there was a big demand from businesses in regional areas to access the talent they needed to grow their business, remotely.
With no marketing budget or funds to be able to scale the business, we decided to enter the St.George Kick Start program.
How did the program support Pointer to grow?
The Kick Start Grant gave me the capacity to hire my first full time employee which has given us the ability to scale the business.
Having access to additional funds gave me the confidence to know that I was able to pay my employee’s wage and manage my cash flow while we grew the business.
It was also beneficial from a coaching and training perspective as you learn how to articulate your business effectively and succinctly.
When you have to pitch a business idea in 60 seconds – the pressure is on. Whilst it is an intense process, the skills you learn are extremely valuable. In fact, I still use many of the tips and tools from the session and the overall process in presentations to potential customers and clients.
Did you have any investors or any difficulty in securing funding previous to the program?
We are a completely self-funded company without outside investment.
What was your experience like pitching at TEDxSydney?
The process was scary as hell! However, it was one of the most amazing things I have taken part in.
The coaching, the pitch itself and receiving the novelty cheque is such a pivotal moment for my business!
It was an amazing experience to have a TEDx coach gives you valuable feedback on your pitch and to then be able to nail your business concept in a minute. It’s a priceless skill to have as a business owner.
As a regional business we often do not get access to training or events so it was great to be involved in the program and not only get the chance to win some of the grant prize but also to upskill.
What are your future plans for your business?
I want remote work to become the norm. I see businesses looking to fill positions as advertising traditionally as well as through Pointer and when they choose who to employ, they choose the best person for the job, regardless of where they are located.
We’ve seen a huge spike in talent from bushfire and drought-stricken areas impacted areas looking for work. This is largely due to many businesses having to close down due to financial constraints.
Remote work could be a way for business to safeguard their business against environmental disasters and give employees the flexibility to continue to work in a location where they are safe.
Moving forward, we also want to become the go-to place for global companies to access Australians talent remotely
Do you have any tips for someone applying for the program?
Just go for it!
Whether you are a business who needs the extra funds to scale or if you have a business idea you want to get off the ground, being able to get your hands on cash injection can make all the difference.
The whole process was extremely quick and simple which as a small business owner and being incredibly busy, I found extremely helpful from a capacity perspective.
The application process was straightforward and the coaching and pitching was not drawn out. Before I knew it I had been announced as a finalist and found myself standing on stage at TedX pitching my business idea.
I’d also recommend that when entering you go in with an open mind. Be passionate about your business idea but open to constructive criticism.
Remember the audience you are pitching to: they are industry experts who are objective and will give you honest feedback.
For more information on the St.George Kick Start program and how to apply, visit https://www.stgeorge.com.au/business/kickstart