I am the CEO of Little Grubbs Orchard, a therapy support services that support children of all abilities and the chair of the Little Grubbs Orchard Foundation Ltd. We started Little Grubbs when we found services were very limited for our son who was diagnosed with Level 3 ASD, GDD and Apraxia of speech at the age of 3.

When did you start your business?

I started as a sole trader on 2018 and the we moved to Pty Ltd in 2020.

What was the inspiration behind starting this business?

My amazing children, in particular our son Liam. When we received his diagnosis I felt so lost and had to trust that he picked me to be his mum as he knew I could support him in his Autism Journey. I started to study right away and left my job as a HR business partner to become the support system that he needed to grow and thrive. Through that process we have created something so special that we now call Little Grubbs Orchard.

What are you most excited about in your business?

The Children, their progress and incredible resilience is what keeps me motivated each day! We have children that join the LGO family who are non verbal, cannot self care or have self harm tendencies. What I love most is supporting the children through different strategies to find their inner strength and embrace their neurodiverse super power to build their skills. From finding their voice to finding their inner peace and strength. It by far my favourite part of the business! I also love our pilot program that we have started to roll out for mums who cannot work as they care full time for their children. We offer different employment opportunities for our mums and also different certification throughout he local TAFE. It’s a great way to incorporate my HR skills.

What has been the most challenging thing about starting your business?

Staring the business was challenging for me for a few of reasons: First I felt so out of my depth and I had so much doubt in myself as this was a world I was just getting to now and understand. Through that process, I found myself within my ADHD in ways that I never thought and I got to understand my son and his world in ways I never thought possible. The second was navigating the challenges of my mother in law, her care and her terminal diagnosis. She received her cancer diagnosis 4 months before Liam received his Autism diagnosis in 2017. My mother in law was an absolute earth angel and one of my best friends since I was 21 years old! She was my strength through this time and although she was fighting the biggest battle of her life, she kept me going. She motivated me, she cared for the kids so I could attend Tafe and then Uni. When she would find me on the floor sobbing she would pick me up, tell me I was ok and to keep going. As I was starting LGO she gained her angel wings. Then lastly it was challenging for me financially as we started to grow and needed more staff, I had to take a HR contract 3 days a week to be able to pay wages from our savings account to our amazing LGO staff. I would then work the remainder 3 days in LGO to try and save on wages and overheads to be able to reinvest back into the children and the business.

What advice would you give to other women thinking about starting a business?

You are more capable than you think and build your village! If you are in it for your reasons then you will navigate challenges with great focus on purpose. I know that sounds cliche but it’s very true! Also don’t look to what other are doing, it will only distract you and throw you off your path. Create relationships with people that have completely different business to you, that is how you grow and learn. Also never feel like what you are doing doesn’t matter. I used to be a cleaner while studying at uni, I took great pride in knowing that because of my effort every day at 4 am students would be able to come and stay in a clean and safe environment and each day be closer to their dream!

Why did you enter the AusMumpreneur Awards?

I entered as my husband nominated me, however I accepted the nomination when I saw what an incredible community AsMumpreneur has created and I truly felt so honoured to be a part of this community. I have also looked for my sense of belonging. I feel like through Little Grubbs I have found a big part of that. Then with this award I now also feel a sense of belonging amongst my peers with such amazing, strong and resilient women. I feel so proud of myself to have been recognised by this amazing movement of queens! Its also amazing to show our mums who are working with us to build their skill set for the workforce that anything is possible if you believe in yourself.

What did you enjoy the most about being part of the awards?

The community! I love the diversity, I love that I got to spend time with woman of all different walks of life and different business. I also felt so much love in the room, it was so heart warming and special for me. Thank you so much for all that you do to create this amazing community for us.

What surprised you most about the awards?

How many people were there! I knew it was big but I didn’t realise it was going to be that big!! I also love that you have a pink award, its beautiful 🙂

How did the awards help you in your business?

I am not sure yet, I hope it helps my business by inspiring our parents and children to build their dreams like I am building my dreams! I hope they see my ADHD the good and the bad and pull on that during their own difficult time. I want to be that voice in their head that says I know this is hard but you have got this!

What advice would you give to other mums thinking about entering the awards?

Do it!!! I did not expect to win anything and had such a great time connecting with other mums from different business. I walked away from that conference with 2 new business ideas (watch this space) and so much motivation. I also made some great friends that will be in my life for a long time to come! I also really love that there is a 3 place award. That is so wonderful and I just love that!!

What has been the best thing about starting your own business?

Finding your own strength and ability! Being able to support my children and their community!

What’s happening next in your business?

We continue to grow Little Grubbs with more families joining us in their journey as our waitlist continues to grow daily. We are looking to open more clinics around the Gold Coast. We have expanded our clinic to now offer Child Counselling, Play Therapy, Occupational Therapy as well as our Early intervention and Positive Behaviour programs for older children. We are working on introducing some safety products for our children and we are also working hard within our foundation (The Little Grubbs Orchard Foundation – seperate to the business) to raise much needed funds for families to access therapy supports.

What are your big plans for the future?

To change the way we support children with different abilities. We want to show families what possible with the right team in your corner! To continue growing and developing employment opportunities for woman who cannot rejoin the workforce as they have so many different therapy appointments for their children and are full time carers. We want to continue providing financial support to children so they can access therapy through our foundation. To date Little Grubbs Orchard (the business) has donated close to 500K in volunteering therapy hours for children who’s families cannot pay for therapy.