Online directory and marketplace to support bushfire and drought-affected SMEs launched

Bushfire and drought-ravaged small businesses have a new ally in the search for customers to boost their badly hit revenue streams through the launch of a new website Spend With Us.

The brainchild of Sarah Britz, a web-designer and mother of two young children who lives on the Cetntral Coast, Sprend With Us addresses the fact that so many small businesses in rural areas didn’t have the time, money or expertise to have good websites of their own. It also aims to help the many local people who are’t social media “savvy” find services and products of local small businesses.

Feeling fortunate that her own property survived the bushfires, Britz was determined to help those who hadn’t been so lucky and support the broader coomunity at large.

“Once I started speaking with business owners who were unsure how they would be able to pay their rent or staff due to the complete lack of tourism trade, which these towns rely on so heavily during the summer months, I knew I had to do something to help,” Britz said. “I would love for this site to be able to make a difference to every small business that is suffering within these communities.”

The platform enables small-business owners to create a free online listing to talk about their business, promote their products or services and to accept online payments.

Victorian small-business owner Ann Orchi asked Britz for help in setting up a directory for Myrtleford and other towns in North East Victoria whose visitor numbers have plummeted at the time of year when they usually make most of their revenue.

“Spendwithus.com.au can be used by everyone, you don’t need your own website, or to be tech-savvy, a directory listing is simple to set up, and all you need is a PayPal account if you want to receive payments or donations,” Orchi said. “Sarah is amazing, and she set me up so quickly and easily, we need to share this to help our region!”

Another Myrtleford small-business owner, photographer Dezi Freeman, is also relieved about the Spend With Us initiative. “It’s great that local businesses will be able to sell their products to recover from the recent lack of business,” Freeman said. “I have suffered this for a lot longer than the bushfires because practically everyone expects my photos for free, even the newspapers. I have suffered great expense for the past two years and producing quality photos costs a fortune in not only money but time.”