Business groups have welcomed the Victorian Government’s $6 million Streetlife program, launched yesterday, which is designed to inject new life into small retail businesses.
Speaking at the launch of the Victorian Small Business Festival, the state’s Small Business Minister Louise Asher said the $6 million program would be spread out over four years.
Asher said the government intends to partner with councils and business trader groups to support small retail businesses in local shopping precincts throughout the state.
“The four-year $6 million Streetlife program for retailers will help them to develop their business and marketing strategies, boost skills, and improve online and social media capacity in order to increase customer traffic and sales,” Asher said at the launch.
Applications will open later this year.
Business groups have welcomed the program, with the Australian Retailers Association describing it as a victory for a sector that’s in desperate need of funding in order to survive.
“There’s no doubt there has been a dramatic shift in Australia’s retail industry over the last few years,” ARA executive director Russell Zimmerman says.
“Smaller retailers and those in regional areas… will be able to access the benefits of the program through their local councils and business associations.”
“The ARA, as well as the ARA Retail Institute, is looking forward to working with the Victorian Government on the Streetlife program.”
Similarly, the Victorian Employers’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry says the practical assistance provided through the program will be welcomed.
VECCI chief executive Mark Stone also made mention of VECCI’s own small business initiatives.
“VECCI is itself conducting a series of workshops throughout Victoria’s regions, which will culminate in our biennial Regional Business Convention in Geelong,” Stone says.
“Regional businesses and communities will have the opportunity to provide ideas for the future growth and prosperity of regional Victoria.”
The Streetlife announcement kicked off Victoria’s month-long Small Business Festival, designed to help the state’s 523,000 small businesses access new skills and ideas.
The festival will feature more than 250 information seminars, workshops and networking events across Melbourne and regional Victoria throughout August.
“With almost a third of Victoria’s 523,000 small businesses based in rural and regional Victoria, a substantial number of events and local partner festivals will be held in regional areas, including the key centres of Geelong, Ballarat and Warrnambool,” Asher said.