Free planning course for Moreton Bay businesses

The success of a six-week planning course in helping small business owners and managers in the Moreton Bay region tackle the challenges and opportunities of a COVID economy has prompted a second series from Thursday 4 March.

USC Senior Lecturer in Management Dr Wayne Graham will present six free workshops on Thursday mornings at USC’s Caboolture campus from 4 March to 22 April, when participants will have the chance to pitch their new business plans to a panel of experts for feedback.

Dr Graham said the short course was particularly valuable as people re-evaluated, redefined or diversified their businesses in the economic conditions produced by COVID-19.

“The aim is for owners to develop a customised business plan that they can use to source funds from banks and investors, or leverage grant applications,” he said.

The new course already has registrations following the success of the pilot late last year, where half of the 27 attendees transitioned through to pitch day. See video.

He said participants ranged from a local café to a non-profit organisation, with many already applying what they had learned to future-proof their businesses.

The series could also open a pathway to university education, with completion earning credit for one course in a USC postgraduate Business degree.

Dr Graham, who coordinates the University’s MBA program and in 2018 received the Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, said the workshops helped businesses understand key factors underpinning their prosperity and ensuring their long-term survival.

“Participants also have the opportunity to join a research project involving post-workshop visits to their businesses to monitor and measure progress,” he said.

The series is a joint initiative of Moreton Bay Regional Council, Moreton Bay Region Industry and Tourism (MBRIT) and Regional Development Australia Moreton Bay.

Moreton Bay Mayor Peter Flannery said the council was proud to partner with USC to deliver this invaluable program.

“Moreton Bay’s economic success hinges on the success of local businesses, with around 60 percent of new jobs created by existing operators,” he said.

“Our region is home to 28,800 small businesses employing almost 150,000 locals, so empowering businesses owners and entrepreneurs is a direct investment in the success of our post-COVID recovery plan.

“Our new Regional Economic Development Strategy identifies ‘Knowledge, Innovation and Entrepreneurship’ as a key pillar to help transform our region and that’s exactly what this series supports.”

Employers based in the Moreton Bay local government area with fewer than 20 staff and who have been operating for at least two years are eligible to express interest by emailing caboolture@usc.edu.au.

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