I predict there will be a lot written about 2020 in the years to come.  Whether that be the findings of research papers from Australia’s leading education institute the University of Southern Queensland, from social commentators to the everyday stories from our small business community.  All important as we piece together the year that was.


And, it is my view, it will be the storytelling, from university lectures and students, the mums and dads, siblings and friends who run businesses that will resonate in the years to come.  We probably all heard some of those stories on Christmas Day.  The joy and sadness, the relief and the stories of hope.


Yes, a lot can be said.  The year has been polarising, that is for sure.  There have been winners and losers.  Brave small business owners, grasping new opportunities to open innovative business ventures, to those, who made the hard and difficult decision, in their best interests either to, hibernate or close their doors. 


Let’s not forget, the Toowoomba community, faced more than the Big “P” in 2020.  There were droughts and bushfires which tested us all.  And now, the predictions of flooding rains.  It would seem the famous words of the great poet Dorothea Mackellar, “Of droughts and flooding rains”, will ring true.


As we brace ourselves for the new year, after about 275 days of complete uncertainty, two things have rung true to me.  Firstly, regardless of the tough decisions made, we did survive.  And secondly, we innovated. 


Let’s call 2020, the Year of Innovation.  And there was plenty on show, from businesses everywhere.


So just maybe, the research papers and the social commentators and the business storytelling should focus on the innovations of many and how these were embedded in the new way of doing business.


We know, practices have changed, workplaces have changed, and we changed what we called local. 


Technology was embraced.  Digital platforms created.  Home became not only the haven for many, but also the workplace.  We visited and bought locally from our shops, farms and when we were allowed to travel, we supported our region by travelling within it. We got to know our neighbours and neighbourhood, our city and our region like never before.   In some way, in 2020, we all changed.


We know, it is the business community that leads change.  One only has to read the 2014, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade report which beautifully articulates that the evidence is clear.  The private sector is the engine of growth.  Successful business drives growth and creates jobs.  In the developed world, it is the private sector that generates 90% of jobs, funds 60% of all investment and provides government 80% of all its revenue.


The Toowoomba Chamber would love to know your stories of innovation to share with each other, as your story, just may ensure another business survives and thrives in 2021.  If you want to share your story, please email


Have a happy and safe New Year. And remember 2020, was the Year of Innovation. 



Todd Rohl

Toowoomba Chamber