RAI & Google reveal regional online heroes

RURAL online businesses which embrace advanced technologies and changing customer tastes have been saluted in recent awards from the Regional Australia Institute, Small Business Minister and Nationals’ MP Michael McCormack has said.

Finalists in the think-tank and global giant’s Regional Online Heroes programme have been unveiled this week, ahead of the annual awards night in Sydney on 5 December.

“Advancements in technologies and connectivity in rural and regional Australia has given country small businesses a boost into new and emerging markets right across the region and the world,” Mr McCormack said.

“In almost every community – no matter its size or location – is a story of unparalleled opportunity, with country people taking their natural resilience and entrepreneurial spirit and turning that into a story of online success and strengthening their community.”

The Regional Australia Institute presents an annual award to recognise outstanding regional innovators, with the winner then partnered with Google, where new tools and strategies for further growth and development are realised.

“As the first Small Business Minister from The Nationals with a country electorate, I know stories such as those the Regional Australia Institute draw out from the Regional Online Heroes programme showcase the best of what rural and regional people know to be true,” Mr McCormack said.

“You don’t have to be in Silicon Valley or even Sydney to make a success of a modern, online business. You can do that from Swan Hill, from South Australia or from the Daintree or the Darling Downs.

“The ten finalists demonstrate this culture once again and I look forward to helping judge such an exciting and inspiring competition.”

The full list of 2016 Regional Online Heroes Top Ten finalists are as follows:

  • AGDATA Australia, Toowoomba, QLD
  • Blackbooks Tea, Cairns, QLD
  • Corporeal Health, Northam, WA
  • Crowd Carnivore, Pambula, NSW
  • George The Farmer, Penola, SA
  • Local Farm Produce, Bundaberg, QLD
  • Off The Track Training, Longreach, QLD
  • Penny Evans Art, Lismore NSW
  • Rabbit Hop Films, Moree, NSW
  • Simply Rose Petals, Swan Hill, VIC

For more information on the finalists, judges and competition, visit the website at:


The finalists will be judged by a panel of Mr McCormack, Jane Cay – the founder of Birdnest in Cooma, Robert Ravens – who founded Bridestowe Lavender estate in Tasmania, John Ball – Head of Small Business at Google and the RAI’s chief executive Jack Archer.

Cristy Houghton