Regional Economic Development

In March 2002 The Merkin Group was engaged by Sunshine Coast Community Financial Services Ltd in respect to assistance in establishing the initial Bendigo and Adelaide Community Bank in Queensland as a franchisee. Community response and subscriptions were low and in November 2002The Merkin Group financially facilitated (essentially underwrote) the bulk of the subscriptions for the placement under one of the two prospectuses (which raised $1.7 million in total) resulting in the opening of the first Community Bank in Cooroy As the concept of a community bank grew The Merkin Group systematically sold down in 2003 (in conjunction with James Kefford Chairman of then BSX listed SCCFSL) to provide the over 750 committed local shareholders who now enjoy healthy dividends as well as benefitting from branch profits which have been ploughed back into the community through grants and donations.

There are now some 200 plus Community Banks in partnership with Bendigo Bank nationwide and The Merkin Group’s assistance resulted in branches at Cooroy, Tewantin, Marcoola, Eumundi and Peregian Beach and SCCFSL migrated onto the National Stock Exchange of Australia in 2011.

From those beginnings The Merkin Group has assisted Sunshine Coast companies realise their full potential by facilitating access to capital and business development strategies through Sean’s involvement in National Institute for Socio-Economic and Environmental Research (NISER) and the National Stock Exchange of Australia (NSX).

NISER is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to social and economic well being based on research, education and strategic action, incorporating the Enterprise Facilitation model of the respected Sirolli Institute.

The Merkin Group provided start up capital and infrastructure support to NISER and Sean Rothsey was a founding non executive director and Deputy Chairman of NISER supporting then Noosa Shire’s Cr Lew Brennan who acted as its founding Chairman.

NISER is made up of a diverse and highly skilled team dedicated to respond and support the needs of individuals, communities, clubs, and businesses with their socio-economic activities, as well as promoting, supporting and funding socio-economic education and research.

NISER was instrumental in establishing several local government enterprise facilitation conferences in NSW and South East Queensland in conjunction with the Sirolli Insitute, encouraging regional socio-economic development.

Sean Rothsey also helped to establish a regional stock exchange on the Sunshine Coast, enabling NISER to represent the National Stock Exchange and the Bendigo Stock Exchange in South East Queensland and under his tenure, listed the Queensland cooperative Golden Circle onto the NSX.

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