PL – Ep 3: Richa Joshi – Build your community. Break down barriers. Then, the rest will follow

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It all started when she saw a business she really believed in.

Pride in dual nationalities is something close to Richa Joshi’s heart. And that was obvious when she spoke to Meredith and Tara for Project Leap’s third episode.

As a proud Australian woman and a proud Indian woman Richa saw in Dual Nation a chance to bridge community gaps, break down cultural barriers and foster understanding.

And at the heart of everything she does, is community.

Be it the physicality of the Gladstone region and the community therein, or the more virtual digital and social communities nurtured through social media engagement, Richa subscribes to the same philosophy: a simple but important message, a high-quality product and responsive, proactive service.

“We need to work with our clients and make sure they know that we are listening, we hear them. We respond to feedback. We work with our communities and our clients. After all, they are the ones who will tell others.”

Dual Nation is all about inclusion. Such a simple – yet still sometimes elusive – concept.

It’s a perfect fit for Richa in the bigger picture as well.

“Dual Nation gives us a chance to say, hey you’re not different to us,” Richa said.

“Yes, you are Indian, or you are Greek, but, actually, you are Australian.”

Richa says while she credits her mother and her husband for much of her inspiration, her main drivers are her kids.

“I see them saying things like jumper and other Australian-isms, and I see how they are becoming Australianised, but they are also speaking in my native language.

“We all have equal rights to be here, and we are all making this our home. Everyone who comes to Australia brings something with them to add to the community.”

So, then, there is the elephant in the room: The naysayers, the closed minds and those who see fit to tell the likes of Richa to “go back to their own country”.

“We don’t want to offend the local population … or we say we will stay with our own cultural group and then we become quite isolated.”

Along with the glorious differences, there are shared expereinces and synergies that go with the territory – no matter who you are – in starting out in business.

And one of the big ones is always breaking through the fear.

“There is always a fear. I have a dream and a nightmare that I will walk out my front door and everyone will be wearing my shirts.

“I credit my husband for my being able to take the leap. He said to me, ‘What’s the worst that can happen? You fail?

“If you don’t give it a go you will never know what might have happened,”

It’s a mantra, almost, Richa sees as bing resonant among anyone who is willing to take the leap – even if you’ve moved from half way around the world, started a new life, in a new culture and a whole new way of doing things.

“We are becoming very inclusive and this is an opportunity for me as a migrant to say, ‘We can do this!’.

“Yes, we still have people who don’t understand. But you know, that’s not just here in Australia. It’s true of any and every country in the world.

“We get a little threatened when we are locals and that is where the ‘go back to your own country’ attitude comes from.”

In spite of the naysayers, Richa said there has emerged throughout regional Australia a movement of immigrant people identifying niches and needs and working to add to the community.

Something like 32% of regional businesses – depending on what report you read – are build and grown by immigrant entrepreneurs.

“Migrants have become skilled at identifying needs in the community and then they fill it.

“There might be a spice shop, for instance, which is opened to start or then there might be a more general need such as a petrol station and they might take that business on.

“With these businesses – whatever they are – they are not only making a mark on the economy and business and community fabric, they are setting down roots and making the community their home.”

It’s right there that the difference is made.

Community, to Richa is key. It’s about making a home for her family. It’s about bridging gaps and breaking down barriers built on misunderstanding and bias. It’s about building networks. It’s about establishing trust.

It’s about sharing traditions, being welcomed and dispelling preconceived notions so that the result is a greater understanding, a stronger notion of humanity and a thriving and successful business ecosystem.

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