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Monday, 12 March 2018

When Tim Wimborne quit his high-flying career as a photojournalist for a tree change he didn’t realise that the trees on his farm nestled at the base of Mount Budawang in southern NSW would change his life.

Member for Monaro and Minister for Small Business John Barilaro said Tim stumbled upon his rapidly growing business after an ecologist visited his farm to conduct an audit and found a large concentration of a unique indigenous plant called Australian Mountain Pepper, or Tasmannia lanceolata.

“After finding the crop and realising its significance, Tim called the NSW Government’s Business Connect service and got local business advisor Graham Baxter to help establish his first business,” Mr Barilaro said.

“Tim has now sold out his first harvest of about 50kg and is now planting a 3,300 plant orchard with hopes to one day sell to China and Japan.

“This is a great example of how the government’s $30 million Business Connect program can help new businesses to grow and thrive.”

Tim, also a qualified chef, said he returned to Australia from Singapore after working for two decades as a photojournalist.

“When we moved back to Australia from Singapore and I was wrapping up my career as a photojournalist I really wanted a complete lifestyle change,” he said.

“I spent two decades as a photojournalist and I’d had enough. I wanted a business that I could run where I lived. My kids are school age and I wanted to have more time with them – I wanted to be a ‘dadpreneur’.

“We had owned the farm for 18 years and never gave much thought to basing a profitable enterprise there but when an ecologist visited she alerted us to the extent of Mountain Pepper growing naturally here.

“This pepper is really very special and the demand is high. Food enthusiasts love it and we have sold to both Canberra and local clients, but the ultimate goal for the business will be to export and sell to China and Japan.

“The pepper has a range of health benefits such as antibacterial properties and high levels of antioxidants. Australian scientists have published research that this plant has amazing properties.”

Tim said support from Business Connect advisor Graham Baxter from the Southern Region Business Enterprise Centre had been invaluable in setting up the business.

“My time is so stretched and I can’t be everything to everyone so it’s been so useful to have Graham. Graham acts as a filter for my many ideas, this has allowed me to focus on high priority tasks that are growing my business”.