City of Melbourne splashes out $110,000 on start-up grants

Seven small firms have been allocated $110,000 between them as part of the City of Melbourne’s Small Business Grants Program.



Recipients of the latest round of funding include a vertical garden company and a video counselling service. Previous recipients include a rock candy store, spice retailer and reusable coffee cup manufacturer.


The four grant categories are for start-ups, business expansion, export entry, and business support services.


Individual start-up grants are limited to $30,000 and businesses can only apply to one category at each funding round. The next round of grants will open in March 2011.


The eligibility checklist requires entrants to be located within the City of Melbourne boundaries, have 20 or fewer employees and possess an innovative business proposal with strong market potential.


According to Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle, small businesses make up 83% of all businesses in the City of Melbourne.


“Not only do they contribute strongly to our local economy, they offer a diverse mix of innovative products and services that make living in or visiting Melbourne a unique experience,” he says.


The City of Melbourne has also launched the Hospitality Toolkit for the benefit of hospitality businesses starting up in the city.


The toolkit contains tips and suggestions, practical guides and information links, and is available to café, bar, catering service and restaurant owners within the City of Melbourne. Topics include food and health, planning, liquor licensing, tax and superannuation, and leasing.


It was developed after research revealed a poor success rate for new hospitality businesses in the municipality.


According to the report, only 35% of businesses generating less than $50,000 survived after three years, and only 45% of businesses generating between $50,000 and $200,000 survived after three years.


City of Melbourne councillor Carl Jetter says the Hospitality Toolkit encourages new businesses to assess the viability of their business model and provides information on how to comply with council regulations when starting up.


“It makes available all the information anyone starting a hospitality business could need in the one spot, making the process much smoother,” he says.


Jetter says other initiatives, like the council’s Enterprise Melbourne website, also assist in setting up and running small businesses.


“Enterprise Melbourne has entered its second year with a more comprehensive website of information and services for a wide range of industries,” he says.


Through Enterprise Melbourne, businesses have access to business and economic development information including business programs, research and statistics, grants and sponsorship, permits, and marketing and promotional opportunities.


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