About Us

groei is Australia’s first ever virtual multi-level business education and mentoring solution, that is designed to help regional small businesses grow sustainably. 

small business is the engine of our economy, by supporting the development of small businesses both in metro and regional areas we support economic growth. 

groei programs are designed to enable and maximise participation and engagement of a diverse range of businesses particularly in regional areas.  


Our Founders

groei was founded by Amanda Cole and Tara Jacobsen. These two originally met in 2002 at a networking event and have been peers and friends since. In 2018,  Amanda and Tara started discussing the challenges they were seeing in the small business sector and that there did not seem to be solutions available to support these challenges in the market. groei is born out of a combined 30 years of small business experience both in their own businesses and supporting others. Like everyone in our groei community we have made the critical business decisions that will guide us in building our longer term vision.

Our Purpose – Why we do what we do

To facilitate the growth of sustainable businesses which will increase employment and economic sustainability in regional and urban communities across Australia and New Zealand. We help you navigate the complexity of small business growth – wherever you are.

Our Ambition

To be the first choice for a regional small business owners business education in Australia and New Zealand. 

To provide a support network to small business owners to ensure learning is not entertainment but can be easily applied and demonstrate a clear return on investment for our participants. 

Our Values

  • All for One

    We are stronger together as partners, businesses, peer groups and communities. We have each other’s back and will challenge ourselves to be our genuine selves so we can achieve our goals individually and collectively. Make the load the lighter .. take the approach of give first… ask “how can we help?”.

  • Keep it simple

    Our lives are complex enough. Make every groei experience curated, relevant and actionable. Simple language, logical steps, the right information at the right time… no bullshit keep it real.

  • Find the fun and maintain the balance

    Life is too short to forget to enjoy ourselves. Enable the space for people to have fun. Acknowledge the celebration for shared lived experience. Create and maintain the routine to enable our goals. Big rocks in first. Laugh, connect and share the story.

  • Lifelong learning

    Always a new version of ourselves to become and another challenge to overcome. Creating underpinning knowledge to support embedding of content to support you to learn.

Our Team

The groei team work virtually across Australia and New Zealand. Here are some of our stories. We can proudly say our team is are predominately regionally based and we are a virtual workplace because we understand the importance of connection across the regions.  

Tara Jacobsen

Tara Jacobsen

Program Director & Co-Founder

Region: Sunshine Coast and Regional Australia

Role: Program Facilitator, Mentor/ Coach, Speaker  

Likes: Hiking a mountain, travelling on unmarked tracks finding new paths, growing things, hearing stories of success about rural regional businesses and working with them for growth.  

Contact: Linkedin, Facebook, Email

Bio: entrepreneurial mindset facilitator, adult education specialist, innovation driver, virtual peer mentoring facilitator, social capitalist         

Amanda Cole

Amanda Cole

Commercial Director & Co-Founder

Region: Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Lockyer Valley

Role: Program Facilitator, Mentor/ Coach, Speaker

Likes: Wandering in the bush, skiing black runs, cooking for the family, vege patch nurturing, drawing birds, facilitating strategy

Contact: Linkedin, Facebook, Email

Bio: advisory board chairman, peer learning facilitator, small business strategic growth specialist       

Mark Pope

Region: Brisbane, Gold Coast

Role: Mentor/ Coach

Likes: Leadership, personal performance, fitness, personal productivity, life balance


Mark founded one of WA’s largest wellness centres as a chiropractor. He then went on to build a business improvement consultancy serving SMEs and ASX listed companies throughout Australia. He’s experienced both failure and success and now he’s helping people find more effectiveness in both their business and personal lives with Pragmatico.

  • Previous Trustee – Committee for Economic Development of Australia
  • CEO – Pragmatico
Ian Nearhos

Region: Brisbane, Gold Coast, Ipswich

Role: Mentor/ Coach

Likes: Innovation, digital and technology businesses


Ian is an experienced business consultant driving performance, innovation, and growth through the delivery of practical business improvement initiatives. Ian primarily works with business owners in the ICT, digital, and professional services sectors.

  • Growth Facilitator with Deloitte working with the Australian Government’s Entrepreneurs’ Programme
  • Director – Nearhos Consulting
Bronwyn Reid

Region: Roma

Role: Mentor/ Coach, Speaker

Likes: Supporting rural women, small business


Bronwyn has qualifications in business management and science; with over 20 years of business experience in this field, where clients have ranged from major coal mining companies and international agribusiness companies, to Government and small regional businesses.

  • Founding Contributor / Blogger Smallville 
  • Director 4T Consultants
  • QRRRWN representative and previous board member
  • previously a lecturer at CQ University  
Jayne Arlett

Region: Townsville

Role: Mentor/ Coach, Speaker

Likes: Hamilton Island, travel, growing small businesses, supporting regional women


Jayne Arlett is Founder and CEO of Jayne Arlett Consulting, an established small business strategy consultancy focused on driving profitability and growth by coupling strategic “parallel CEO” thought leadership with systems efficiency and optimization.

With more than 25 years of experience in a variety of board and CEO roles across businesses from $50K to $1B annual revenue, Jayne provides high-level approaches that support small business owners throughout the entire back end of their business. Previously, Jayne started and built a variety of businesses and local organizations from scratch, growing the Arlett Group of Companies to $10M in annual revenue.

Michael Doneman

Region: Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast

Role: Program Facilitator, Mentor/ Coach

Likes: Woodford Folk Festival, Facilitating entrepreneurial learning, mental health and resilience, ethical entrepreneurship, creative industries


Michael is a creative entrepreneur, animateur and educator and co-founder of Edgeware Creative Entrepreneurship, and in the role of Innovator in Residence at ComLink Ltd. He has a background in community cultural development which inspired work in business design, vocational education and training, and information technology. 

  • Previous Senior Research Fellow at QUT’s Creative Industries Faculty from 2002-2005  
  • Founding Affiliate of the ATN University network’s e-Grad School
  • Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.  
Adam Harris

Region: Taranki New Zealand

Role: Program Facilitator, Mentor/ Coach

Likes: remote leadership expert, mentor, coaching for performance, expert questioner


Adam is a virtual CEO Coach and expert in remote and virtual workforces. Originally from the UK Adam is now based Taranaki and continue to support business owners facilitating growth in SAAS collocated and internally distributed companies. Adam also specialises in facilitating peer mentoring groups and is the author of the Check in Strategy Journal.  

  • CEO Prsence  
  • Facilitator – Trust Micro
  • CTO – Peritus Learning & Development
John Burkett

Region: Brisbane, Gold Coast, Ipswich, Redlands

Role: Mentor/ Coach, Speaker

Likes: Podcasting, networking, innovation, technology commercialisation


John is a sales led technology entrepreneur, founding a tech startup as a sole trader and went on to grow that business into a multi-million turnover, multi-company operation. That business was successfully exited by sale to a USA based NASDAQ listed company in 2008. John has done the full arc of the journey from startup to exit. He now leverages that 15 years experience advising businesses, through my work on Advisory Boards and mentoring. 

  • Managing Director Advicepoint Business Consulting  
  • Chairman & Non-executive Director Appenate
  • Mentor & Panel Chair – Mentoring for Growth Qld Govt, Mentor – River City Labs
Nicola Curtis

Region: Gympie, Mackay, Gladstone, Rainbow Beach

Role: Mentor/ Coach, Speaker


Nicola Curtis is a Heath, Safety, Wellbeing, Quality and Environmental Specialist with extensive experience in mining, heavy manufacturing, transport, Major infrastructure projects, RTO management, oil and gas. Accredited Yoga and Meditation teacher incorporating mindfulness and neuroscience within workplace health, communication and leadership. She is a qualified trainer, accredited auditor and rehabilitation coordinator with passion for business development, community engagement and industry advocacy. 

Sharon Francisco

Region: Brisbane, Gold Coast, Redlands

Role: Program Facilitator, Mentor/ Coach


Join Us

You can be a part of the groei team in two ways: as a local or virtual program facilitator and mentor to deliver our programs or an expert speaker for our events. 

Join the groei team

We are looking for regional leaders to be the local face of groei in your region. You will share our passion for growing economic sustainable local communities through supporting the growth of small businesses.  

You will have expertise in building community, facilitating, teaching and encouraging peer learning and may have the skills to do this virtually. We would also expect you to have a strong regional network, industry presence and have lived experience of running and owning small business.  

Contact us if you’re interested in learning more about joining the community or join our LinkedIn group for regional facilitators.  

Our Partners

As a membership organisation or a local government agency you have a vested interest in building entrepreneurial capital in your local area. You are on a mission to support and network small businesses to help them be more sustainable. 

Sustainable small business = jobs and growth = strong economy

You have influence over a large number of businesses from micro to medium sized and your network is there waiting to engage. Whether you want to deliver the program under your brand or partner with us, our missions are aligned. 

Our goal is to reduce the failure rate for businesses and increase the employment rate wherever we run a course. As educators we also want to provide a support network to ensue learning is not entertainment but can be easily applied and demonstrate a return on investment for our participants. 

Here are some of the organisations we are proud to partner with:


We love partnering with other organisations that share our values and purpose. We also love to share the word when we find an organisation that also delivers great learning content and support to micro and small business owners.  

 If you’ve got a course or a membership that you believe our members need to hear about please register here for our Affiliate program.   

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