Published: Nov 08, 2022

Six months ago, Stephen and Suzi Heath quit their jobs running a lawn mowing franchise to fulfil their dream of operating a coffee van and bringing specialty coffee to events and the local community in Port Macquarie.

And while Stephen and Suzi had confidence in their business concept, a bright green coffee van called 2Frogs, they needed support and guidance on how to structure a small business from the ground up.

“We knew we wanted to make great coffee and keep people smiling, but we needed operational support on how to run a business,” Stephen said.

That’s when they turned to the Self-Employment Assistance program, part of the Australian Government’s Workforce Australia initiative. Delivered by not-for-profit employment, training and apprenticeships provider VERTO on the NSW Mid North Coast, the program supported Stephen and Suzi to turn their business idea into a viable enterprise.

“We heard about this free program and wanted to tap into the business coaching and mentoring,” Stephen said.

“We couldn’t just serve ethically-sourced coffee to our lovely customers all day and forget about the financials!

“That’s when we approached VERTO, and I could never have imagined the amount of knowledge, support and experience it would take to help get 2Frogs off the ground.”

In just six months, 2Frogs has developed a loyal clientele and is booked out on weekends for events. That’s on top of a regular coffee run around different parts of Port Macquarie during the week, including industrial areas that may not have access to a café.

VERTO Self-Employment Assistance Facilitator, Kahrina Richardson, said it’s been inspiring watching Stephen and Suzi’s business go from strength to strength.

“Stephen and Suzi have a great entrepreneurial spirit, and are serving seriously good coffee with brilliant customer service,” she said.

“They have a fun and community minded approach to marketing which is appealing to lots of customers, and they are so receptive to feedback and mentoring.

“It’s great to see them bring their business idea to life while accessing the support and guidance they need to make sure 2Frogs is a success.”

To mark Small Business Month (1-30 November), VERTO CEO Ron Maxwell is encouraging those considering starting a business or wanting help transitioning an existing small business into a thriving one to contact VERTO.

“We’re really proud to deliver the Self-Employment Assistance program in the Hunter, Mid North Coast, Murray Riverina and Far West Orana regions,” he said

“The program allows you to choose the level of support that meets your needs and those of your small business, from training workshops to specialist mentoring.

“Stephen and Suzi are perfect examples of how, with a little support and guidance, you can turn your ideas into a successful small business through the Self-Employment Assistance program,” Mr Maxwell said.

For more information about the Self-Employment Assistance program and how VERTO can help bring your small business idea to life, contact 1300 4 VERTO (1300 483 786)  or visit: https://www.verto.org.au/our-services/self-employment-assistance.

About VERTO

VERTO is a community owned, not-for-profit organisation delivering a range of apprenticeship, community support, employment and training services to assist individuals, employers and industries. We can be found in over 60 locations across the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales and Victoria. For more information, visit verto.org.au.