Chris Hulskamp is bouncing back after unexpectedly losing his job over a year ago, establishing himself as a mower repair man at Curra.
Chris Hulskamp is bouncing back after unexpectedly losing his job over a year ago, establishing himself as a mower repair man at Curra. Renee Pilcher

Business is baby number 5

IT TOOK Curra man Chris Hulskamp a long time to adjust after losing his job over a year ago.

Back then he was working in Townsville and said he was fired for no reason.

"I had half a day's notice," he said.

Mr Hulskamp said the boss told him one day he wanted him to leave and his fourth child Claire had just been born.

Since then it has been an adjustment to live on a lower income with four children to support.

"But we're used to it now," he said of wife Leigh and himself.

Now the long-term unemployed man is starting his own business and couldn't be more excited about the future.

The fully qualified motor vehicle mechanic, who has had 15 years experience working in mower shops, said he was a Briggs and Stratton master service technician and with those skills he had always intended to start his own business.

"But I didn't know how to go about it," he said.

He thought on-site ride-on mower repairs would work in Curra with a focus on outlying towns, like Glenwood and Kilkivan.

"I did research on repairs and they are usually four to six weeks behind," he said.

Owning his own business is a lifeline for Mr Hulskamp.

"I was fired for no reason. I didn't know what I would do, we had been living day to day. It was hard with four kids. It took my breath away."

Now when business picks up, the family will be in a better postilion to save money after living on a strict budget for such a long time.

"It certainly hasn't been easy financially. But I work better for myself."

The family moved to Curra two months ago and with the help of CTC employment Mr Hulskamp secured a grant through the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme to get his business off the ground.

Together with wife Leigh, who is a partner in Mr Hulskamp's repair business, he will receive about $500 a week for income support, uniforms some tools and advertising.

"It's a great opportunity."

To receive the grant Mr Hulskamp had to come up with an idea for a business that was new and had no competition.

Something that was too hard to do in Townsville.

Now living in Curra, the family are happy they can spread out on five acres for about $300 a week, they were paying about $350 for a small three bedroom home on a tiny block that was under the local flight path. "Property prices in Townsville were ridiculous," he said.

They plan on buying a property in the region in the future.

With grass starting to grow now Mr Hulskamp hoped jobs would start flowing in.

"Call me on 0415 710 422, I need work," an enthusiastic Mr Hulskamp said.



  • New business owner Chris Hulskamp has his first job for new on site ride-on mower repair business.
  • He is completing a course - certificate III in micro business - as part of his agreement under the NEIS program and will receive mentoring along the way.
  • The program is run by the Business Success Group in Brisbane.
  • His business has to work in order for Mr Hulskamp to keep receiving the funding.
  • The New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS) is a self-employment program funded by the Department of Education Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR).
  • To be eligible for NEIS you need to be receiving a full or part pensions or allowance from Centrelink, be registered with Centrelink as looking for work and have a valid Job Seeker Identification Number and have a commercially viable business idea.
  • NEIS is only available for new businesses.
  • Under the program you receive help to develop a business plan.
  • For details visit and click on the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme tab.