Moss Environmental founder talks of motivation for startup, at UNE SMART Region Incubator showcase in Tamworth

Shonelle Gleeson-Willey of Moss Environmental shares her pitch.
Shonelle Gleeson-Willey of Moss Environmental shares her pitch.

AN ENVIRONMENTAL consultant committed to staying and creating jobs in this region has been showcased in an event at the UNE SMART Region Incubator.

Moss Environmental director Shonelle Gleeson-Willey was among five business founders working from the Tamworth incubator to talk about their startups last night.

The founders were tasked with “pitching” their businesses in five minutes or less, sharing with the crowd the reasons for, and the background of, their startups.

The crowd included Tamworth regional councilors, businesspeople, students and other community members.

Mrs Gleeson-Willey spoke of being unable to find work in her field, despite being highly skilled, after being made redundant from a large regional infrastructure project at five months pregnant.

The experienced environment co-ordinator had been working in contaminated land management, had moved to the region a couple of years earlier, and didn’t want to have to leave Tamworth.

She founded Moss Environmental in 2015, working from her kitchen table and back room until she was offered a spot at the incubator at the end of June.

“I found that I could really only get so far working from home because the internet reception at Daruka is not very good and, with two kids, I had a lot of distractions,” she said.

In the incubator

She said the incubator provided her with dedicated working space, better technology, mentoring and networking opportunities.

Moss Environmental offers services such as: plans for erosion and sediment control, wastewater management, and construction environmental management; tender support; compliance audits and environmental monitoring.

Mrs Gleeson-Willey said consultants had worked on projects such as the Werris Creek Coal Mine, Boggabri Maules Creek rail loop, the Armidale Regional Council erosion and sediment control training day and the Parkes Shire Council new sewage treatment plant.

She now works full-time in her business, employs one person part-time and has a team of other consultants she calls on for larger projects.

“I’ve had a lot of very fast growth in the business, but I still don’t think I’d be able to commit to paying rent somewhere,” she said.

“I’d still be working out of my back room and I don’t think I would have been successful in winning some of the projects that I’ve won, because when I say I had internet problems, there were full days when I couldn’t connect to the internet, it was that bad.”

Mrs Gleeson-Willey said she was “so very, very thankful” to the organisers of the event.

“It was a fantastic opportunity for me and for the business to have all these very influential, high-profile people from Tamworth come and listen to my pitch.”