ANGEL AMONG US: Dalby woman’s huge fundraising efforts
EVEN after moving to the pristine beaches of the Gold Coast to study at university, Dalby woman Paige Caldwell never lost touch with her regional roots, raising more than $4000 for farmers struggling with drought.
Now in her ninth semester of a double degree in Law and Business at Bond University, Ms Caldwell remains passionate about giving back to the community she calls home.
Her tireless fundraising efforts have led to her being recognised for an award for the Chinchilla Drought Angels through her Drop for the Drought business project.
"In Business Model Generation you form small groups and come up with business ideas," she said.
"At the end of the semester you pitch them to your lecturer and they pick two or three successful teams to get funding from the Business School.
"You then execute your idea in the following semester."
The Drop for Drought team, consisting of Ms Caldwell and other students, raised initial funds selling insulated travel tumblers before a transition to remote learning saw them pursue online streams of revenue.
"We looked into distributors, got our loan approved from Bond, submitted our reports and provided evidence that our idea was going to be successful," Ms Caldwell said.
"Then we set up a website, took pre-orders and did a lot of personal sales.
"When we started the business, we had no idea that COVID-19 would be an issue and we thought we'd just raise money on campus.
"When the campus shut down, we had to move online."
Ms Caldwell and her team held an online trivia night, raffle competitions, and even engaged in social media marketing through a series of interviews with farmers about the drought.
Drop for Drought raised $4296 for Drought Angels and received the university's Business Model Execution Award for outstanding teamwork and exceptional contribution to the community.
Adjunct Teaching Fellow Ben Hayden-Smith said the Bond Business School founded the award to recognise exceptional teams.
"The award isn't given out every semester," he said.
"It's not just about how much money they make, there's almost an X-factor that distinguishes them from other teams."
Ms Caldwell, who hopes to pursue a career in agricultural law, has experienced first-hand the challenges faced by regional families.
"My family has been through drought so (raising awareness) was something really close to my heart," she said.
"(Drought Angels are) based in Chinchilla and it was really just two ladies who started the charity.
"They'd load up the back of their utes and go out to see and help farmers.
"They were great to work alongside and helped us out a lot."
Drought Angels Fundraising and Events Team Leader Joanna Bender said Ms Caldwell and her team were an inspiration.
"The awareness they raised for Aussie farmers impacted by drought is so important," she said.
"Paige's passion for farming families was evident in everything they did throughout their fundraising and she sought to bridge the gap between city and country in a fun but meaningful way.
"Drought Angels are so humbled and grateful that Drop for The Drought chose them as their charity to support."
To support Drought Angels, head to the link here.