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The Generosity of the Small Business Community

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The Generosity of the Small Business Community

I’m just back from spending three days on the road in Central Queensland. I was on the road with a group of Ultra Marathon runners completing a 250km run to raise money for the Bernie Banton Foundation.

I first heard about this journey through my friend Mat who organised it. He lost his Dad to mesothelioma three years ago and wanted to keep his memory alive. They had both loved running, so he decided he was going to run the 250 kilometres between two towns in Central Queensland where he’d played soccer as a kid.

There was something about the story of “Trail to Triumph, Tony’s Journey” that touched me. Maybe it was because I was living in Sydney when the James Hardie asbestos court case was happening. Maybe it was because my Dad had been exposed to asbestos during his career or maybe it was just that Mat is such a decent human being that I felt I needed to do something. That ‘something’ became a podcast that Mat could use to raise awareness (and hopefully some money) for the Bernie Banton Foundation

So, for three days I followed the runners and recorded interviews with them along the way. Their guts and determination were just what you’d expect. But what I didn’t expect was the overwhelming generosity of the Small Business owners who supported the event.

They included the local ice supplier who donated ice for the runners at the end of each day and the private paramedic who drove his own ambulance from Brisbane to Mackay (a return journey of some 1,900km) and treated all the runners.

Then there was the local Toyota dealer who supplied four vehicles to ferry the support crew around and the seafood distributor who provided a refrigerated truck to keep the food from spoiling. And don’t forget the 15-odd support crew who’d each taken time away from their own business to be there and lend a hand, so that each of the runners could achieve their 250km goal.

The list of these supporters was long, and it was heartwarming. None of these Small Business owners can ever expect to see a fiscal return on their donation. They received little in the way of public recognition, yet each of them provided a critical piece of the mammoth logistical effort that was required.

Somewhere on one of the dusty trails, as the runners and support crew were stopped by the roadside for a break, it struck me that it is only through the generosity and heart of Small Businesses that many similar events take place.

Every week of every year, we hear of some worthy event, like cycling across the Nullarbor or walking from Brisbane to Melbourne to raise money for a charity. Without the compassion, support and generosity of the local businesses associated with each of these endeavours, these funds wouldn’t be raised.

Now I don’t know the numbers, but I am pretty certain that the level of support and assistance provided by our Small Business community would far outweigh that supplied by ‘big business’. And while they don’t have the PR machines behind them to promote their contribution, Small Business does what it has always done within its own community to support and serve, without fanfare. Just a quiet helping hand, freely given.

I’ve never been prouder to be a Small Business owner.

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  • Bronwyn
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    Hear hear Tracy! The contribution of small business owners to their communities is immeasurable. All those hours volunteering, donations to the school fete, sponsoring the junior footy team… And all done without fanfare, with just the expectation that their local community will continue to flourish – nothing more. You’re right, they don’t have huge PR machines to promote what they do, and their collective work would probably far outweigh the well publicised “big business” contribution. So it’s important for all of us to recognise what they do. Next time you’re at the school fete, approach the owners of the local businesses that donated what they could, and thank them. I too am very proud to be a small business owner.

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