Smart Small Towns is a private certification issued to regional communities in recognition of their commitment to fostering entrepreneurial spirit. An endorsement brand for communities to indicate to their community and others that they are committed to ‘doing things differently’.

Founder, Hayley Purbrick from Deniliquin New South Wales, developed Smart Small Towns in response to the longstanding understanding fostering entrepreneurial spirit stimulates regional economies.  Yet, armed with this knowledge, many community leaders are struggling to unlock their vision for a vibrant economy.

The problem is data and research is meaningless unless it helps make decisions that have a measurable impact. While entrepreneurial spirit is well understood it is yet to be practically applied to mobilise communities on a large scale.

Smart small town brings leading research and data together to create insights in relevant and usable forms to support community leaders to take meaningful action.

The certification is applied in three stages:

  • online self-assessment
  • analytics support platform
  • certification

When a community is certified as a Smart Small Town they are able to utilise a branded logo and access marketing support to show their town as a place which is committed to doing things differently. This brand will act as a visual endorsement towards their community and also to attracting people to live in their town who have the same mindset.

Smart Small Towns is a holistic approach to ensuring regional communities can create lasting and enduring positive change, fostering entrepreneurial spirit to create a vibrant economy.


“The continuing and cumulative disadvantages of rural regions have finally reached a point where rural groups, observers and commentators have identified a ‘crisis in the bush’.” (Jensen 1997: 6)

“The role of local leadership is accepted as a key driver of regional economic performance. Leadership is especially important in smaller communities which often lack infrastructure, skills and resources for economic development.” Collits (2000)

“Entrepreneurial spirit is a mindset, an attitude and approach to thinking that actively seeks out change, rather than waiting to adapt. By empowering our leaders to foster entrepreneurial spirit we will grow vibrant regional economies.” Purbrick (2017)


Partnering with Smart Small Towns to foster entrepreneurial spirit in regional communities is not only the pathway to vibrant regional economies; it is also an opportunity to turn your research into action.

Smart Small Towns is a program to support and nurture local community leaders who can make change happen. It is recognised community leadership plays a fundamental role in regional economic performance, ‘Leadership is especially important in smaller communities which often lack infrastructure, skills and resources for economic development’ Collitts (2000),

By partnering with Smart Small Towns you will be directly empowering committed local leaders to build community well-being creating vibrant regional economies.

Creating communities whose residents exist in a state of being where:

  • They are respected, valued and have personal worth
  • Feel connected to those around them
  • Are able to access necessary resources; and
  • Are able to participate in the decision-making process affecting them

Together we can empower regional communities to take control and make sustained change.

We are seeking partners to:

  • Share their research, data and learnings in building vibrant regional economies
  • Introduce Smart Small Towns to regional communities around Australia
  • Contribute real case studies of successful entrepreneurial communities; or
  • Join our advisory group to help progress the idea to put it into action

Partner with Smart Small Towns to:

  • Find a pathway to attain widespread adoption of your research
  • Be a part of a new way of looking at economic development in regional Australia
  • Access new insights from localised data direct from regional communities
  • Support and nurture community leadership
  • Demonstrate your commitment to growing vibrant regional communities; and
  • Take action to turn around small town decline

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