The NEIS program has been delivered by APM Employment Services since February 2020. It was previously delivered by Konekt Employment.
John Fischer quite literally took a plunge when he started his abseiling business in March 2019.
For over 10 years he worked for other people doing tour guides and rock climbing, before he decided to step out on his own and start his own business.
Today he runs the Mountain Experience (MTXP), an abseiling and rock climbing business based at Mount Wellington in Tasmania.
Consisting of a 4 hour tour that includes pick-up and drop back to Hobart CBD, Mountain Experience provides its customers with unparalleled excitement in a beautiful surrounding. According to John, abseiling is the best way to experience Mount Wellington, which attracts over 600,000 visitors each year.
“We drive you to the summit of Mount Wellington where it is a short walk down to the giant cliffs,” John said. “After photos, you’ll experience a full 100 metre abseil on the Organ Pipes of Mount Wellington kunanyi down to the walking track. As you hike back to the chalet we then explain the mountain habitat and rock formations before your drive back into Hobart.”
After making his decision to start a business, John found that the local community was extremely supportive.
“Some previous developments in Mount Wellington that have been opposed by the local community due to the impact they would have on the natural landscape,” John said. “The local community is really tight and they are extremely concerned with preserving Mount Wellington as a beautiful place.
“The feedback I received was amazing,” John said. “Everyone was extremely supportive and felt my business idea couldn’t fail.”
Despite the local support, John did still experience a few hurdles. “The application to become a licensed tour operator was a six to nine month process, which took longer than I had been hoping,” John said.
“We had bookings already lined up, but by the time we had completed the process, the weather had moved in.”
Due to the colder weather visitors to Mount Wellington drop off from April through to September. As a result, John decided to launch the service in Victoria.
“I had to do a lot of cold calling at short notice,” John said. “I contacted tour guide operators, agencies, B&Bs and hotel organisers.”
It turned out to be the right decision, and after a few months in Victoria, John was ready to successfully launch at Mount Wellington in November this year.
John mentioned that New Business Assistance through Konekt Employment provided him with a great deal of support in setting up his business.
“NEIS helped me get a handle on my finances,” John said. “Just having a greater understanding of how to manage my expenses and income gave me the certainty that I wasn’t going to go bankrupt. It gave me the reassurance to just go for it.”
“Having a business mentor to contact whenever I needed was a big incentive – it gave me extra confidence and helped me feel like I was on the right track.”
“Without a doubt I’d recommend NEIS to people thinking about starting a business.”
John’s goal for the future is to take a modular approach to his abseiling business. This involves growing it in different ways, introducing additional tour options, and setting up the business at additional parks across Australia.
John is already completely booked out through to Boxing Day this year, which shows how popular this abseiling experience has become.
Visit Mountain Experience's Facebook page for more information.