About Us

Small business is the engine of our economy.

We support to build flourishing small businesses that create ripples of success in their communities….more jobs…happier families…stronger businesses… stronger communities.

groei programs are on demand, guided, actionable, personal and designed to support all small business owners through 3 levels of support – a peer group, a coach and a network. We combine theory with applied practice to ensure implementation and accountability to drive change.

Amanda and Tara are the founders of Groei Education.

Our two founders have collectively over 35 year’s experience in innovation, business growth education and strategy.

Together they founded groei in 2019 to enable the sustainable growth of start-ups and businesses across Australia and NZ.

Meet the Team

Meet Tara Jacobsen

Meet Tara Jacobsen

Program Director

Tara Jacobsen is an experienced entrepreneur, business strategist, facilitator, and collective leadership specialist. She loves getting off the beaten track and exploring new people and cultures. With over 20 years experience in applying strategy to corporate learning and development, education, business growth and organisational development. As much at ease with start-ups and regional entrepreneurship as corporate enterprises, Tara’s experience as an expert in human and social capital development is an invaluable resource in the development of groei programs.

Tara is currently undertaking a PhD in Innovation and Strategy of regional entrepreneurship. She lectures in Corporate Entrepreneurship at University of Sunshine Coast in the MBA program and is also the co -producer of a successful podcast Project Leap sharing stories and advocating for rural and regional entrepreneurs.

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.


Meet Amanda Cole

Meet Amanda Cole

Commercial Director

With over twenty years of working closely with entrepreneurs from business startup to maturity, Amanda Cole has seen her clients win awards, build strong and sustainable businesses and attain significant personal goals. As a leadership coach and strategy facilitator with Spark Consultants she has worked closely with business leaders to enable them with the tools to grow their business. Amanda is also Non-executive company director, and currently Chairman of four private company advisory boards including Shadforths Civil Construction and Sunfresh Linen.

She is also Australia’s first and longest serving female Chairman for leading peer mentoring organisation The Executive Connection. Amanda is the recipient of the Centenary Medal for business and winner of the Telstra Young Business Woman’s Award (Qld) in 2000.

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

Previous Programs

Brisbane City Council Program

Lord Mayor’s Business Excellence Workshops

Brisbane City Council, with groei education delivered a series of free workshops

designed to enable small business owners to grow their business with easy-to-use tools. With topics such as goal setting for personal effectiveness, business planning, sales effectiveness and people management skills. Each workshop delivered practical takeaways to make doing business easier.


Business Excellence: In Conversation (Live in person) 

The Business Excellence in Conversation series was designed to give small business owners the opportunity to get inspired and hear from the experiences of business owners to apply the theory learnt though the Business Excellence Workshops. 

Both series were developed to roll out over the course of a year providing best practice content and networking opportunities. We designed the workshop to help small business owners learn some practical tips and in the process they learnt from the other participants, built some new networks and had fun. 

Let us design a workshop series or education program to suit your network.



Featuring speakers such as:

SME Forum

Join the conversation

When COVID hit in March 2020 we started the Virtual Small Business Forums, initially every week and then fortnightly until November 13th. The forum’s were designed to provide a space for small business owners across Australia to connect and make sense of what they needed to do to support their business in uncertain times.

To date we have run 24 FREE forums with an audience of over 400 small business owners from around Australia, in majority regional areas and over 80% women (and a few from Canada, Dallas, South Africa and NZ)

Now more than ever we need a connection and the right information at the right time. We are committing to running these forums into 2021.

If you want to be notified when the next forum dates are booked..

Our forums are MORE THAN A WEBINAR

The forum is a virtual networking experience and a chance to think about your business challenges.

We designed the forum so every participant can ask their questions and spend time in small groups online with a speaker and to meet and build relationships with other business owners.

Our attendees say :

I have joined this forum for the last 4 or 5 weeks and the quality of the panelist brought on to share value to attendees is just amazing. We’ve had some seriously big names join and deliver incredible advise and counsel to the audience on many different topics, ranging from WFH and dealing with the change, to business innovation, Social Media Marketing, etc… Thank you to the amazing Amanda Cole, Tara Jacobsen and Adam Harris for setting it up, and running it on a weekly basis.”

Floris Blok, Blok Business Consulting

“I got more value from the Forum than I expected to…I’m really appreciative of the advice I received as I like to know what I’m planning to do is the right thing. It was really helpful being able to spend time with speaker and get specific feedback.”

Kelly Beasley, Busy Beas Bookkeeping

From our panellists: 

“I have to be honest I loved the experience, I am happy to do that all over again: ). But this isn’t about me.

Like most of us I have been asked to join a lot of forums, webinars, live interviews etc and I do have to confess I have been quite reticent to do a lot of them simply because in the rush to demonstrate the ability to still be of use in a virtual environment delivery by a lot of hosts has been less than stellar.  Having known Tara for some time I expected professionalism which is why I didn’t hesitate to join the panel when she asked.  Where the experience really stood out was in the format…from a production viewpoint it was ‘as expected’ and easy to navigate for all participants, but your format is superb.  The pace, the ability to give just some ‘chunks’ of information which were easy to absorb, the flow between panellists, into breakout rooms and back to mainstage was really well managed and did not allow for downtime – or dead air – to creep in.  I also found the chat and questions from your participants to be on point, which means a better experience for everyone, including the panellists. “ 

Jacqueline Nagle, SpeakableYOU (panellist)

Here are some of our most popular forums

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:

Are you a small business expert?

Groei programs make a difference to regional communities and we need you help! 

We are looking for facilitators and coaches to help us deliver our program in your region. You will share our passion for helping small businesses to be more sustainable and have a network of community connections with Council, your local Chamber of Commerce or local small business membership organisations. 

Contact us if you’re interested in being a part of our next groei program.

What we look for?

  • 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.

groei in The News

groei has been featured in a number of publications recently.

2020 recap: Lead from the front, but remember to take a step back to breathe

Leaders and HR professionals from Ripple, Asia Pacific Breweries Singapore, British American Tobacco, OMRON Corporation, and groei share what they’ve learnt, including having a flexible and nimble culture…

How are female-led regional SMEs rebuilding after a nightmare 2020? A Q&A with groei co-founder Tara Jacobsen

It’s no secret that small businesses across Australia did it tough last year, faced with the economic fallout of pandemic, and for some in regional and rural areas, the devastating consequences of bushfires.

Shineing the spotlight on Tara Jacobsen

Tara Jacobsen is an experienced entrepreneur, business strategist, facilitator, and collective leadership specialist. She loves getting off the beaten track and exploring new people and cultures and has a passion for regional Australia.

How female-led regional small businesses are rebuilding in the wake of a nightmare year

It’s no secret that small businesses around Australia have been doing it tough this year, faced with the impacts of the pandemic, and for some in regional and rural areas, the devastating consequences of bushfires.

Tara Jacobsen, Co-Founder and Program Director Growth Education Institute

As someone who’s been described as an A type personality, my attitude towards napping for most of my adult life was that I didn’t have time for a nap. Even on weekends my to-do list was like a badge of honour and the more …

What’s on in Brisbane: Business strategy workshops

Many small businesses took a big hit during the worst of the pandemic, and many of them are struggling to get back on their feet. Amanda Cole is an expert in business strategy and she’s conducting workshops this month and in early March to help them do just that.

Where to go (and maybe where not to go) Entrepreneurs Journey 1st March 2021

there are a plethora of places that budding Entrepreneurs can go to for advice, but are some better than others? Is paid for advice better than free advice? Can too much advice be a bad thing?

Getting serious about your side hustle

Have you ever dreamed of turning your side hustle into a full-time and profitable career? Find out what steps to take to maximise your chance of success before making the switch.


A new virtual multi-level business education and mentoring solution, groei, is breaking down geological barriers and reshaping how female business owners connect through its programs. While Australians continue to recover from COVID-19, groei is directly responding …

we love telling stories about the many programs and clients we work with.

Here some speaking topics we have delivered in the past

Education and Youth Innovation

  • The Importance of Encouraging Youth Innovation: Nurturing the Next Generation of Trailblazers”
  • Future Skills Readiness: Preparing Today’s Youth for Tomorrow’s Job Market
  • Innovative Education: A Paradigm Shift in the Learning Landscape
  • Why We Need to Rethink Education: Addressing the Challenges of the 21st Century
  • The Power of Experiential Learning: Fostering Creativity and Problem-Solving Skills
  • Breaking the Mold: Challenging Traditional Education Models to Foster Innovation and Growth
  • The Role of Teachers in Nurturing Future Innovators: Empowering Educators to Inspire Creativity and Critical Thinking
  • The Future of Education: Trends and Predictions for the Next Decade


Regional Business and Business Strategy

  • Regional Small Business Growth and Strategy: Navigating the Challenges and Opportunities
  • The Power of Social Capital for Regional Small Business Growth: Leveraging Relationships to Drive Success
  • Sustainable Growth Strategies for Small Businesses: Balancing Expansion with Financial Stability
  • The Small Business Owner Mindset: How a Growth-Oriented Attitude Can Propel Your Business Forward
  • Resilience and Applied Neuroscience for Small Business Owners: Harnessing the Science of Stress to Build Mental Toughness
  • Regional Female Founders: The Path to Economic Recovery for Rural Communities
  • Business Education and Adult Learning Pedagogy: How to Design Effective Training Programs for Small Business Owners
  • Virtual Training and Education Best Practices: Tips and Techniques for Delivering Engaging and Effective Online Learning Experiences

Tara is the Program Director of Groei Education, an innovative education organisation making real impact through designing programs that support change including Knoei Colab, Australia’s first Co-Curricular Youth Innovation Incubator with University and Industry Pathways. 

Tara has over 25 years experience in innovation education and regional business growth. As co-founder of Groei – an innovation education organisation, she has supported and mentored thousands of business owners and start-ups across regional Australia including being the program designer and facilitator of the award winning USQ Wire Program. This program has connected hundreds of geographically isolated women to start new or expand existing businesses, in turn creating jobs for their drought-ravaged regions. Tara has founded four businesses herself, one of which was an RTO in the Pilbara,  the first of its kind in the region. She lectures in Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Strategy, Decision Making and Creativity for a number of leading Australian institutions and is currently undertaking her PhD on social and entrepreneurial capital . 

Tara is currently on the board for the International Social Capital Association and has recently been appointed as the Australian Chair for leadership and entrepreneurship education to the G100 a global group of female leaders that provide thought leadership to the G20 and policymakers. On the Sunshine Coast she mentors for youth innovation accelerators Generation Innovation, The Telstra Mayors Innovation awards and is a judge for the Sunshine Coast Business Awards.

get in touch if you are looking for a key-note speaker or workshop delivery

WordPress Image Lightbox