The AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award celebrates the leadership of women who work in Australia’s remote and rural industries, with applications for the 2024 competition now open until October 25, 2023.
Each state and territory winner receives a $15,000 Westpac grant for their project or business, and access to professional development opportunities.
Ali Paulett, managing director of Paulett Wines and South Australia’s 2023 winner, said winning the award is a “gift that keeps on giving”.
“It was a huge win. It was a lot more than I expected,” Paulett said.
“Apart from the Westpac grant, which was fantastic, the media coverage we got was amazing.
“They [AgriFuture] supplied media training, and there was also a $7000 bursary for personal development and further education. So, through that I’m currently studying the Australian Institute of Company Directors course as well.”
Paulett won the competition for creating a native sensory bush food garden to supply the family winery’s Bush DeVine restaurant in the Clare Valley.
The bush garden features more than 40 different types of plants that visitors can smell, touch and taste. Many of these plants offer new flavours to tourists, while well-known to the First Nations (Ngadjuri) people of the area.
The Westpac grant has also allowed Paulett to collaborate with First Nation artists.
“Most of the grant has gone to working with our local First Nation artists, Ellie and Adam Warrior, who are doing a beautiful piece for our garden, which is connecting in the history of the land to the Paulett family vineyards,” she said.
Paulett said supporting and empowering women in rural and regional areas is key to helping these communities flourish.
“I think [women in rural industries] are a massively untapped resource that don’t get enough credit,” she said.
“Look at the schools: they’re the ones on the parent association, they’re the ones running the canteen, running the local tennis club. They just have a lot to give, and a lot of them just need a boost to back them, to get their ideas or businesses off the ground,” Paulett said.
Aside from the financial prizes, the AgriFuture award boasts a close-knit alumni network who are passionate about lifting one another up.
“We had an alumni breakfast with some guest speakers and a networking lunch, and it was a great opportunity to listen to other women who had been really successful. Even just getting to chat and connect with other women that could help in your business, or you’ve met someone who could help someone else. It was just such an empowering space,” Paulett said.
Paulett encourages women considering applying to “just put yourself out there”.
“If you’re questioning whether to apply or not, I’d love to have a chat and help clarify or get your project up to a point where you can apply, because it is such a wonderful opportunity,” she said.
“It’s not just the grant money, but everything around it and the way AgriFuture just wraps you up, lifts you up, and takes you on this massive journey.”
To apply for the 2024 AgriFuture Rural Women’s Award, go to their website.Jump to next article