Free support program to assist local businesses through lockdowns

SUPPORT programs to help assist local businesses struggling through the lockdown have been announced by Wollongong City Council.

Council will partner with Investible – an early stage investment firm who are experts in entrepreneurial and business development to deliver two online programs; free of charge to businesses – Primed to Thrive and Thrive.

Investible have run similar programs in Sydney and Melbourne that have benefited businesses and will now assist Wollongong as well.

Applications open today (August 11) and close September 6, with both programs set to run for 10 weeks commencing in late September.

These online programs build on a range of measures Council is implementing as part of its COVID-19 Assistance for Community and Business package.

The workshops will empower business owners to adapt and innovate in the face of unprecedented change and support local job creation and entrepreneurship in line with Council’s Economic Development Strategy 2019-29.

Primed to Thrive will target small businesses in the Wollongong LGA, with a particular focus on those in the retail and hospitality sectors, with many of these businesses having been heavily impacted by the pandemic.

Any local business that registers will automatically be enrolled in the program which will provide access to the tools, frameworks and strategies small businesses need to remain competitive in today’s digital landscape.

The focus will be on understanding business ‘best practice principles’, enhancing knowledge of digital marketing and developing a robust business plan.

Thrive is a selective program open for application that builds upon the Primed to Thrive program. It offers additional content to support up to 20 Wollongong businesses with demonstrated growth potential to future-proof their business model and explore new possibilities for expansion and innovation.

Thrive participants will also be invited to join a national alumni community with ongoing business support post program.

Both programs provide access to Investible’s digital learning platform as well live workshops with a range of industry experts who are partners of the program.

Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said Primed to Thrive and Thrive are tailored programs designed to help assist local business owners make confident decisions in a changing world.

“Wollongong supports each other, and this program will provide opportunities for help, advice and education for small local businesses in this challenging time,” he said.

“This is a free program which I am hoping our business community embrace. It’s a chance to revive and strengthen our local business economy and create a network of support for businesses currently facing unprecedented challenges in their operations.

“These ideas are all part of our wider community support package to assist our local businesses, community and creatives through the pandemic,” Cr Bradbery said.

“The business support program is just one of the elements of this package that include more flexible rate payments to waivers for sporting groups, grants for creatives, free CBD off-street parking opportunities, the waiving of outdoor dining fees across the whole Local Government Area, and a buy local campaign.”

Both programs are now open for registration and applications will be open online until September 6.

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About Mick Roberts

A journalist, writer and historian, Mick Roberts specialises in Australian cultural history, particularly associated with the Australian hotel and liquor industry. Mick has had an interest in revealing the colourful story of Australian pubs and associated industries for over 30 years. He is working on a comprehensive history of the hotel and liquor industry in the Illawarra region of NSW. Besides writing a number of history books, Mick managed several community newspapers. He has been editor of the Wollongong Northern News, The Bulli Times, The Northern Times, The Northern Leader and The Local - all located in the Wollongong region. As a journalist he has worked for Rural Press, Cumberland (News Limited), the Sydney city newspaper, City News, and Torch Publications based in Canterbury Bankstown, NSW.


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