New initiative to support small businesses in bushfire-hit communities

The Federal government has reaffirmed its commitment to help rebuild the communities in NSW, Victoria, and SA affected by the bushfires that hit early this year through a team of advisors to help businesses in those areas.

Experienced “Strengthening Business” facilitators are working in the fire-affected regions to determine the unique characteristics of each area so they can better help these communities back on their feet.

“These facilitators have proven skills and experience in helping small-to-medium businesses develop strategies to rebuild and grow, pivot, diversify, or perhaps even use their existing skills and knowledge to start something entirely new,” an Entrepreneurs’ Programme departmental representative said. “This is a free service that will complement the existing recovery effort. Businesses can apply to work with our experts to determine the best way to get their systems, staff, operations and finances back on track.”

Under the initiative, a network of Entrepreneurs’ Programme facilitators will work with businesses on longer-term strategies to help make their businesses become more resilient.

“Small businesses are the backbone of regional economies. It is vital their recovery is led locally, to encourage economic growth, ensure ongoing job creation, and future sustainability within the communities,” the representative said. “Of course, these businesses continue to be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, on top of the hardships caused by the bushfires.”

While the primary focus remains recovery, the programme will also provide assistance in establishing resilience safeguards, for any future crisis events as well as help minimise the impact of COVID-19.

Strengthening Business is one of the services delivered by the Entrepreneurs’ Programme, supporting Australian business, within the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources. The initiative is part of the Government’s Bushfire Affected Small Business Rebuild package.

The package also includes a $10,000 grant for eligible businesses, distributed through state government business services, and 20-odd National Bushfire Recovery Agency officers who will help locals navigate the on-ground support.

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