At just 27 years of age, Tara Howell is charging toward being one of the most successful young entrepreneurs in Northern Tasmania.
This was confirmed last week when she was named Trailblazing Innovator at the Northern Champions of Tourism awards for her North-East tourism project – The Blue Derby Pods Ride.
Ms Howell co-owns the Blue Derby mountain biking retreat, with husband Steve Howell, which sees tourists pay $2000 for a luxury three-day mountain biking experience.
Visitors are treated to meals made using the finest Tasmanian produce, before resting their weary heads in contemporary pod accommodation located on the Derby mountain bike trails.
Ms Howell believes the retreat provides an experience not possible anywhere else in the country.
Ms Howell said the success of the tour lies in its ability to provide a form of complete escapism for visitors.
“There's no one else offering what we do in Tasmania, and actually we could say around Australia,” she said.
“I think the value in our offering is not in one single thing that makes the price – it's in the entire experience and what that gives the individual.
“Our guests get a perspective on life didn't think they would get - it gives them an opportunity to reflect and have almost child-like moments again.”
The Blue Derby Pods is not Ms Howell’s first, or even primary, venture in the business world.
She started her maiden company, Echelon Marketing, as a 23-year-old.
Echelon merged with growing architecture giant S.Group earlier this year, leaving her as S.Group’s director of brand and marketing, and effective number-two. The value of S.Group’s marketing department has doubled since she took up the role.
Ms Howell wholeheartedly encourages any would-be entrepreneur to take up the challenge of creating a startup.
“I remember thinking to myself [when I was 23] that age is just a number, and that your skills capacity can be anything you want it to be.”