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Bega Valley Shire CouncilBega Valley Shire Council

Business Support Group helps James on his epic journey

James Bristow in front of his Valiant Coffee caravan in Cobargo.23 April 2021

James Bristow’s small business journey with Valiant Coffee (right) started with an idea involving a 1960’s surf-style wooden caravan and a rustic 1966 Valiant Safari, both of which were in Alice Springs at the time.

James’ vision for self-employment had a few challenges. He had to drive the Valiant over Mt Kosciusko, transport the caravan on the Ghan to Melbourne, deal with a lost caravan wheel on the trip to NSW and then start his business, all just before the Black Summer bushfires hit our region.

His achievement in starting a successful business is testimony to James’ belief in his idea, true resilience and as James says, good luck. A major contribution was a generous invitation to open alongside the Via Luna mobile kitchen in the main street of Cobargo.

James began his business venture with assistance from the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme, through which he developed a business plan and received 12 months of mentoring from an experienced business coach.

Through the Business Support Group (BSG), James was connected with BSG member, Matt Beare from Manyrivers, who helped James secure a microfinance loan to set up the business. Matt also provided ongoing mentoring and support.

Another BSG member at the time, Paul Morris from the Bega Virtual Drop-in Centre provided a laptop for the business through the Business Council of Australia BizRebuild program.

And most recently, James was referred to BSG member, Kaye Keogh from the Australian Small Business Advisory Service to help with Valiant Coffee’s digital online presence.

James is grateful for the business and community support he has received locally and feels very much part of the Cobargo community. He runs Valiant Coffee in collaboration with Via Luna in a great setting with lots of locals and visitors dropping in for great coffee and food, along with a chat.

Valiant Coffee is thriving and growing. James employs three locals and is looking to expand his business. Valiant Coffee and Via Luna are located between Cobargo Automotive and Little Birdy Vintage in Cobargo’s main street.

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