From Pollenizer:  Pollenizer, Australia’s oldest startup incubator, will launch a free two-day session in Geelong to help workers affected by the Ford shut down explore the idea of creating their own business.

The program, named Next Monday, will show former Ford workers how any idea can be developed into a business.

Next Monday was formed in less than 24 hours by Pollenizer, in response to figures from Australian Catholic University that up to 62 per cent of Ford workers intend to look for a new job following the closure of the plant this Friday yet only 1 per cent currently aim to start their own business.

Current supporters of the program include: Deakin University’s Spark@Deakin and Australia Post’s Small Business Hive and Geelong startup program, Runway.

The company is seeking further support from the startup and business community ahead of the Next Monday’s launch on Monday.

“This is about bringing Australia’s most talented startup veterans together to tackle what will be an ongoing issue as Australia’s economy transitions and more jobs are displaced,” Pollenizer chief startup scientist Phil Morle said.

“The Australian economy is going through unprecedented change. Legacy industries are shifting and new ones are being created. In our work, we have learned that as fast as old businesses end, new ones emerge and that anybody can start them.”

In addition, the program should provide a kick start to Geelong’s budding startup ecosystem — which recently received $1.7m in funding from LaunchVIC.

The regional centre is already home to several incubators and coworking spaces including StartUpCloud and Runway.

Details on the venue will be revealed at a later date. Workers can register their interest on Pollenizer’s website.

Open letter to workers from Phil Morle and the Pollenizer team:

This message is for workers who will be ending their career at Ford’s plant in Geelong this Friday.

 We don’t know each other yet. We are startup people from Pollenizer. We live in a different world where 25 year olds make billion dollar businesses and scientists create new technologies. We spend most of our days making new energy businesses and thinking about how we can make the health or telecommunications systems better. We are startup people – jacks-of-all-trades doing a little bit of everything to make something new.

You have a craft. A dedication. You have given your careers to making great Australian cars. But now that has been taken away.

In our work, we have learned that as fast as old businesses end, new ones emerge and that anybody can start them. All it takes to start them is to say “I have started” and quickly others will join. This doesn’t mean risking everything. It can be done on the side. But you are in charge. You decide.

You may not be an ‘ideas person’ and you may not want to be a founder to carry the burden of a new business. But what if it was possible to join someone else’s? What if you could use your superpowers to help other people to make something great that you are proud to be a part of?

We’d love it if you could join us in Geelong and spend a couple of days exploring some ideas. We’ll share everything we know about how to start something that is yours and introduce you to other people in a similar situation who you might collaborate with. It will be a engaging couple of days and completely free. At the end of it you will have some new tools in your kit, some new friendships and a different perspective you can use to lay down a road to a possible future.