What is the SEED Scheme

THE Seed Scheme helps rural women start or grow their own business or enterprise by providing 12 months support, group mentoring and training in business, leadership and personal development, which could be subsidised by our partners, if a partner is available for the round. THE Seed Scheme is powered by THE Rural Woman

What do I receive from THE Seed Scheme?

If you are successful, you receive:

  • 8 weeks of intensive business support, training and mentoring – delivered Live (and recorded) through an online Program
  • A fun and intensive Activation weekend shared with the local POD, delivered online and also in-person focusing on planning, pitching and team building!
  • Weekly LIVE online mentoring and training in business and technology
  • Support from a dedicated POD Facilitator. The POD Facilitator helps participants connect with fellow THE Seed Scheme Members and develop a local support network
  • Access to an online platform giving you CONNECTION to your POD Members and other women in our community.  You will have the ability to promote your events, business and activities within this platform.
  • Access to a network of hundreds of rural women across the country who are also starting/running their own online business.
  • A curated learning plan that includes 24/7 access to hundreds of hours of recorded training videos in marketing, sales, financial management, product development, events, social media, mindset and business
  • Connection to Partners who can support you in the realisation of your business and enterprise goals

What kind of business or enterprise do you support?

In short – all of them! We recognise that there’s an incredible pool of untapped intellect and creativity sitting at the heart of our nation, and we want to unearth it!

Maybe you want to solve big social problems, are a healer, an artist, technician, consultant, or practitioner.

What you do is up to you. We only ask that you are passionate about what you do and want to build a profitable, successful business that you love!

Some example businesses our Members have set up include: online retreats, making and selling beauty products, consulting, retail stores, tourism enterprises, on selling other makers products, health education and writing books.

What I do is a hobby

If you are earning money from your hobby, then you are in business. If not, do you want to?
THE Seed Scheme can help you:

  • monetize your hobby so you get paid to do what you love
  • scale up your hobby into a bigger business.

Will you promote my products/services for me?

Each week THE Rural Woman promotes a ‘Member of the Week’ to our 50,000+ reach on social media. In order to be promoted, Members must let us know about the events, products & services!  We also promote Members to other Members through our monthly e-newsletter. We also offer THE Seed Scheme specific promotional opportunities from time to time, these are up to individuals to take up! Of course you also have access to the  hundreds of Members of THE Rural Woman and THE Seed Scheme you can share your products and services with too! Some of them could become your best customers!

However, you should not rely on our marketing alone. Part of running a business means promoting yourself and products or services. Part of the business training includes attraction marketing, social media, content marketing, and sales.

What is a POD?

A POD is a group of up to 10 or more women who were selected to participate in THE Seed Scheme. PODs are encouraged to meet regularly, either in person or online.

Each POD has a dedicated Facilitator who helps Members connect and develop their local (or sometimes online) network. POD Facilitators check-in with you throughout the program period, and ask for feedback through surveys before, during, and after the program has finished.

It’s likely a POD Facilitator will not live locally, so your connection to them will be ONLINE!

What is THE Rural Woman?

THE Rural Woman (www.theruralwoman.com.au) is an online community of rural women.

Through business training, personal development, and community, we help rural women
overcome isolation.

THE Rural Woman was founded by Rebel Black. Rebel is passionate about reigniting rural communities through entrepreneurship and connection.

Read more about Rebel Black

Read more about THE Rural Woman Team

What’s the difference between THE Rural Woman and THE Seed Scheme

THE Seed Scheme offers additional value and support to it’s Members through the local POD connection, Facilitator and other opportunities expressly delivered for THE Seed Scheme Members and Alumni!

THE Seed Scheme is an initiative delivered by THE Rural Woman.

What’s the difference between a Sponsored Member and a Partner?

The Partner provides the funding for an  scholarship for a Sponsored Member. A Sponsored Member receives the benefit of this funding. For example, Regional Australia Bank is a Sponsor Partner. When an individual applies and is selected through THE Seed Scheme, they become a Sponsored Member.

What’s the difference between a Seed Scheme Sponsored Member and a Rural Woman Member?

Sometimes, through the generous contribution of our Parnters, we can provide scholarships for THE Seed Scheme Members – they become known as Sponsored Members and  receive the same benefits as a THE Seed Scheme Members, without the full cost of accessing the Program. They will receive:

  • an 80% scholarship towards their fees for one year
  • access to a dedicated POD Facilitator for additional support
  • access to the women in their POD for a local support network as well as the online network
  • connection to the Partner.  Partners are successful businesses in a region and are often well-connected themselves. They might benefit from your products or services, or could help you expand your business.
  • additional benefits offered exclusively to THE Seed Scheme Members and Alumni


What do I learn?

We deliver most of our education and peer to peer mentoring online and the format for each experience can be different.

Some of the types of learning frameworks include:

  • Masterclass (60 minutes delivery + 30mins Q&A)
  • Break-out Groups (workshop style where small groups workshop together in online break out rooms)
  • CNM Room (Co-working, Networking & Mentoring) where members can connect and ‘work’ online together as well as networking and connecting in with 1:1 Mentoring with the Host/Expert in Residence.
  • Activation Weekends – interactive, fast paced and fun these weekends incorporate live event training, course content engagement, self-paced learning and team connection.

All our education is provided by Rural Women who are subject matter experts in the area they are mentoring or teaching on and currently include the main areas of

  • Business
  • Digital skills and Technology
  • Wellbeing

Business topics

Each month we focus group training and mentoring on a different aspect of your business and the weekly training/mentoring is delivered by a different Mentor/Trainer each month (these are all rural women and are subject matter experts with many years experience):

Business training sessions are held online, every Tuesday at 12 noon AEST.

Digital Skills & Technology topics

Each month the technology topics are aligned with the business topics to ensure you are learning digital and tech tools that will support the implementation of your business work!

The weekly training/mentoring is delivered by Vivan Evans who is an experienced adult educator, particularly in the use of technology.

The 2020 schedule is below

Technology training sessions are held online every Wednesday at 530pm AEST.

Personal growth topics

The Wellbeing sessions are focused on THE Return to Whole and are hosted by THE Rural Woman Founder Rebel Black. The 2020 schedule is below.

Sessions are held Thursdays 7.30am AEST


How much time do I need to commit to THE Seed Scheme?

We want to teach you to work ON your business, not in it. Allow up to 5 hours a week to get the most out of the platform, the education, and your mentoring. This five hours should include:

  • 1-2 hours a week to attend or watch the recorded videos of the training and mentoring sessions
  • 1-2 hours a week to take the action recommended by the trainer/mentor
  • 1 hour a week to watch other training and implement new ideas, engage in conversations through the social platform, network, and reach out or update your store/blog/course etc.

When is training and how long does it take?

During your 8 week Business Activation Event trainings are be held at a specified time which will be made available to Members when they join.

The business training sessions are 60 – 90 minutes each week and takes place every Tuesday at 12 noon AEST.

Weekly Digital and Technology skills support and advice happens every week on Wednesday at 12 noon AEST.

And Wellbeing sessions are at 7.30am AEST on Thursday.

How much time should I be spending on my business?

In addition to the time spent on THE Seed Scheme, you should aim to spend at least an hour every day working on and improving your business.

If this seems overwhelming, there are often small windows of time throughout the day you can use such as driving to work, waiting to pick up the kids or grandkids, or when you’re running errands. Keep a dedicated notebook handy and jot down ideas or ‘to do’s’ as you have them. Try to do at least one thing each day on your business, even if you only have 15 minutes. It all adds up.

Our most successful members find a way to work on their business, most days of the week.

I’m going on holiday or won't be available for a few weeks during the next 12 months

Everyone needs a break to recharge. If you’ve got travel plans, please enjoy and let your brain, body, and soul recover. You can always catch up on the recorded training session in the Members HUB. Maybe you could let yourself ‘think big’ and visualise your successful business while you enjoy the downtime.


What type of person can apply?

We want rural women with the motivation and desire to start their own business. If you are:

  • Wanting to start a business (while still employed)
  • Currently self-employed and wanting to start or grow your business
  • Full of ideas but don’t know where to start
  • Impacted by drought
  • Wanting to make an extra $15,000-$55,000 per year doing what you love
  • Interested in value adding an existing product
  • Seeking off-farm income
  • Committed to your own development
  • Confident in your skills but don’t know how to monetize them
  • Wanting to take your knowledge/skills and turn it into a business
  • Creative and want to turn your hobby into a business
  • Experiencing isolation
  • Nearing retirement and want to create something for the future
  • Tech fearful, but willing to try
  • Trying to start a business but not getting traction
  • Dipping your toe into business and wanting to take it further.

THE Seed Scheme is the program for you.

We encourage applications from rural women who are:

  • Aged 55+
  • Aged 18-25
  • Indigenous
  • Migrants or newly arrived in Australia
  • Living in town/village or on farm
  • Unemployed or underemployed.
  • Agree to launch at least one product or service within 12 months of starting the program
  • Focus on doing what you love, being of service, profitability, and scalability

I’ve already started my business, can I still apply?

We are happy to support all women in business whether they are at the ideas stage or well progressed.

You’ll need to check the conditions (if any) and your eligibility that will be outlined on the Expression of Interest and Application Page.

I’m in high school, can I apply?

Applicants must be at least 18 years old.

Do you accept men?

No. THE Seed Scheme is a program for rural women.


How much does it cost?

This depends on the way you join THE Seed Scheme.

If we have scholarships available you may pay less than the amounts listed below, which are the full fee paying amounts.

$18 per week, $78 a month or $936 for the full year.

Where does my contribution go?

Your financial contribution is ‘skin in the game’, and a way to pay it forward for the support you are receiving. Research shows contributing financially to your education means you are more likely to participate and succeed.

A percentage of your contribution is given to the Alumni Pay It Forward Fund which is used to support scholarships for Rural Women in the future!

Thank you!

How much does it cost after my 12-month scholarship finishes?

If you want to remain an active member of THE Rural Woman and continue to receive training/support/mentoring through THE Bloom Program the cost is $33.99USD/month or $299USD/year

If, at the end of 12 months, you don’t want to stay part of THE Rural Woman community, or keep your access to the training and your online store, it won’t cost you anything.

If you want minimal support but to remain connected you are welcome to remain remain a member of THE Rural Woman community FREE!

How much money should I expect to make from my business?

How much you make depends on many factors, including the work you put in, your business model, cost structures and capacity to operate. We encourage rural women to work ‘on’ their business as much as they can so they can return as much profit as they desire.

I didn’t get sponsored, can I still join and pay full price?

We do open non-scholarship Cohorts.

And You can access all the training materials and online support by becoming a Member of THE Rural Woman. Membership fees are $33.99USD/month you can join HERE

I want to quit, can I get my money back?

We are here to help you reach your goals. If, for some reason, you want to quit, please contact our support team on admin@theseedscheme.com.au We will try to help you make the most of the commitment you’ve made to yourself, your Partner, your POD and your community.

We do not offer refunds and we do charge admin and early exit fees

I want to quit, will it cost me anything?

We are here to help you reach your goals. If, for some reason, you want to quit, please contact our support team on admin@theseedscheme.com.au 

Unless there are extenuating circumstances, there is a Three step cancellation process:

  1. Contact the POD Facilitator who will provide you the steps to take which will include
  2. Contacting your Sponsor and asking for their blessing 
  3. Contacting your POD and asking for their blessing 

Our cancellation fees are:

If you are able to cancel, your pay it forward contribution must still be made so you will be asked to pay out the remainder of your fee (minus what you have paid to date) plus a $100 admin fee


What locations have Partners and PODS?

We currently have PODS in the following regions:

  • Coonabarabran + Warrumbungle
  • Gunnedah
  • Glen Innes
  • Maranoa
  • Temora
  • Walgett
  • Woolgoolga
  • Yarrawonga/Mulawa.
  • Narromine
  • Mirboo North
  • Horsham
  • Cabonne
  • Guyra
  • Charters Towers
  • Online (members are from NSW, Victoria and WA)

What if I live in an area that’s not got a Partner?

If you live outside a sponsored area, please email admin@theseedscheme.com.au

If we get enough interest we can look for Partners in that area or offer a full fee paying opportunity. We need at least 10 THE Seed Scheme Members in a region.


What is the application process?

First, fill out an expression of interest (EOI) form for your region. The Expression of Interest (EOI) form:

  • makes sure we can send you information and any updates about applying
  • helps us drum up for interest with potential partners

Once you have filled out an EOI, you will receive the application information and the POD Facilitator will call you to help you through the application process and answer any questions you may have.

Further details about the application process can be found below.

Do I have to fill out both an EOI and an application form

Yes. You need to fill out the EOI form to receive application information. The EOI form should take less than 30 seconds to complete.

How long will it take me to complete the application?

Allow at least an hour to make your video and fill in the application form. The form will take about 30 minutes to fill in and we recommend you take a copy of the application questions and fill them out in another format (eg in a word document) so you can ‘copy and paste’ into the form.

If you are confident in making and uploading videos, allow another 20 – 30 minutes. If this is your first video, get a friend or family member to help, and allow more time.

Don’t leave your application until the last day. We recommend you take the time to read the application form and video questions and think about your answers. Get a friend or family member to read over your application and check it for clarity, spelling and grammar.

What should I say in the video?

In your three-minute video, answer the questions:

  • What is your DREAM for 10 years’ time?
  • Describe your ideal customer.
  • Describe your ideal product or service. What do you want to sell?
  • What is your financial goal in the first 12 months of your micro-enterprise?
  • Why should we choose you and your micro-enterprise?

I don’t have a video camera

Most phones and laptop computers have cameras and recording software. Or, ask a friend or family member if you can borrow theirs.

Tips for making your video

We don’t need any special effects, costumes, or music. We just want to see you, telling us about your business and your dream.

Find a well-lit, quiet space, away from background noise. If you can, use a tripod or rest the phone/camera on something sturdy so the video is steady. Make sure you talk into the camera. If it helps, you can have someone stand behind the camera, with their face just above it, and you talk to them. It is OK to have notes that you refer to, just try not to read off the notes the whole time.

We know it can be hard to see yourself on camera, but please watch your video to make sure you are happy with it before you upload.

Where do I upload my video?

Once you have your video and are happy with it, you can upload it to either youtube or Vimeo. Read instruction here.

How long are applications open for?

Applications are usually open for about three weeks. Please go to www.theseedscheme.com.au to see dates for the next round.

What happens after applications close?

Your application will be assessed by a selection committee. The selection committee is made up of members from THE Rural Woman and the Partner team. Some of the things they are looking for include:

  • Does your application meet our criteria?
  • Did you follow the application instructions?
  • Does your idea have merit?
  • Are you passionate about your business and able to clearly express your business idea?
  • Will you be a good representative for our Partner

Read more about our criteria under the ‘Eligibility’ FAQs.

Applicants will be notified by email whether their application was successful. If successful applications decide to withdraw, we will refer to our waiting list and select more applicants.

How do I know if my application was successful?

You will receive an email letting you know if your application was successful or not.

When will I know if my application was successful?

You should receive an email within four weeks after applications close. If you have not received an email within six weeks, please check your junk or spam folder. If the email isn’t there, contact admin@theseedscheme.com.au

My application was not successful, can I talk to someone to find out why?

Send an email to admin@theseedscheme.com.au and someone will make an appointment to talk to you.

I was accepted (yay!) what happens next?

You will be invited to secure your place by:

  • Signing an agreement
  • Setting up your online access to the course and community platform
  • Set up payment plan
  • Sending a message of appreciation to your Sponsor partner!
  • Activating your Membership on THE Rural Woman community. Details on how to do this will be in the email you received inviting you to secure your place.

Once you have completed these steps you will be given access to your POD group on THE Rural Woman community and also the 8 week Business Activation course materials.

We recommend you calendarise ALL activities for the 12 months including the Welcome Weekend, Online POD Meetings and weekly trainings!

Within four weeks of joining, you should book a call with your POD Facilitator.

I need help with my application

If you have any technical problems, please contact admin@theseedscheme.com.au. Leave enough time for our helpdesk to get back to you and work through any issues.

For general help with completing your application, please contact the POD Facilitator in your region. You will receive your POD Facilitator’s details once you fill out the EOI.

When do applications open next?

To see when applications open next, go to www.theseedscheme.com.au


What equipment do I need?

To run your business and be part of THE Seed Scheme, you will need:

  • A computer
  • Reliable internet
  • A quiet place where you can call in and engage with the weekly business training.

How do I attend training?

You will need to be online at the relevant times each week to watch and participate in training. See the ‘Timing’ FAQs for a more detailed schedule.

I have bad internet

THE Seed Scheme is primarily delivered online and encourages women to use the internet for business. If you have unreliable internet or cannot gain access to reliable internet regularly (eg in library, at a friends place), THE Seed Scheme may not be the right program for you.


I have more questions, who should I contact?


Or your POD Facilitator who’s contact details will be on the Application Page and subsequent emails.