Dubbo's Leanne O'Sullivan wins 2019 Regional Pitchfest Orana heat

Article taken from The Young Witness - original article can be found here

Date: 10 July, 2019

The Dubbo founder of a school for "digital immigrants" has pitched up a storm to gain a new opportunity for her innovation.

Leanne O'Sullivan has built up her digital marketing training school to help business owners and has a goal to grow the program significantly.

Moving towards expansion is firmly on her agenda after she won the Orana heat of the 2019 Jobs for NSW Regional Pitchfest this month.

Ms O'Sullivan was one of seven hopefuls to take part in the initiative aiming to unearth regional start-up talent.

The event hosted by The Exchange was judged by Fiona Nash, Steve Hinks, Jemima Aldridge and Mathew Dickerson on July 3 in front of a live audience.

Ms O'Sullivan said her program was about teaching business owners and their staff about how to develop their own digital strategy so they could implement it and be successful at it.

"What I want to do is to really grow that program quite significantly," she said.

I know there's other online programs out there, but I don't believe those programs are pitched at the clients I'd like to help.

Leanne O'Sullivan

"I know there's other online programs out there, but I don't believe those programs are pitched at the clients I'd like to help.

"Which would be, people, I like to call them digital immigrants, they're not digital natives, but they may have had a business for a while and they're good business people, but they just don't understand modern marketing tools and tactics."

The innovator welcomed the chance to go the Regional Bootcamp at the Sydney Startup Hub in August where five finalists will be selected to compete at the NSW final in Wagga Wagga in September.

There was a sense of excitement in the air and we're all still feeling the buzz.

The Exchange community manager Minna Demetriou

The Exchange community manager Minna Demetriou said the organisation felt extremely grateful to have hosted the Orana heat.

"There was a sense of excitement in the air and we're all still feeling the buzz," she said.

"It was a night full of learnings and firsts but more importantly reaffirming that we have ambitious, intelligent and innovative people in our community."

Ms Demetriou offered congratulations to winner Ms O'Sullivan for her passionate pitch.

"We wish Leanne the best of luck in Sydney for the boot camp with Regional Pitchfest, we have no doubt that she will represent the Orana region so well," she said.

"We'd also like to thank our judges, Fiona Nash, Steve Hinks, Jemima Aldridge and Mathew Dickerson for taking time out of their busy schedules to help us support the entrepreneurs, small businesses and artisans in our region."

The Exchange thanked Regional Development Australia (RDA) Orana for partnering with it for the initiative as the major sponsor, and Dubbo Regional Council for being the supporting sponsor.

RDA Orana director Megan Dixon was pleased to be part of the delivery of the event, and was looking to future plans.

"While there was only one winner on the day, each of the businesses had very valid business ideas and we look forward to continuing to support them on their path to success," Mrs Dixon said.

"We also believe that the event went so well, that we're now working with The Exchange on a model that will see similar opportunities provided to businesses across the region."

Dianna Somerville