Helping people get business skills they need on NSW South Coast

Business Council of Australia

More Bega Valley business owners have an opportunity to get skills in business planning thanks to a $15,000 funding boost from the Business Council of Australia’s bushfire recovery charity BizRebuild and Bega Valley Shire Council.

The ‘Planning for Business Success’ program, delivered through the University of Wollongong College has helped 30 local businesses access free vocational training to help them develop well-defined business plans.

“Helping businesses rebuild and come back stronger was a crucial part of keeping communities going following natural disaster,” said BizRebuild chair Sir Peter Cosgrove.

“Business is the glue that keeps communities together. Whether it is bushfires or the pandemic, we need strong businesses to pull through and keep communities together.”

Business Council chief executive Jennifer Westacott said the additional funding would help bushfire affected communities look to the future.

‘We are here for the long haul to help fire affected communities who have been hit with the double whammy of COVID-19. Ensuring we support people to get the skills they need to get back on their feet is so important,” she said.

With the support of an initial $40,000 BizRebuild grant, ‘Planning for Business Success’ started as an idea from the Bega Valley Shire Council’s business support group following the 2020 bushfires.

Bega Valley Shire Council’s Economic Strategy and Projects Manager, Alex Cunningham said, “we saw the need for businesses to be able to pivot throughout the many challenges they’ve faced over the last 18 months. This program helps provide the tools they need to achieve sustainable economic success as they rebuild.”

The program is delivered online over five weeks and includes modules in research and analysis, legal, compliance and operations, marketing, finance, and business planning.

University of Wollongong College RTO Manager Elizabeth Thomas said, “we are really pleased to be working with the Bega Valley business community to provide knowledge and tools for business success.”

Participants in the program, many of whom have owned local businesses in the area for decades, have welcomed the program with enthusiasm.

“We’ve owned a business for 19 years but have found this course encouraging and motivating to keep learning and growing.” Debbie Gardner, owner of Fairway Motor Inn Merimbula said.

Program participant and owner of Sapphire Coast Automotive Services Alan Toovey adds, “after the impact of bushfires and coronavirus I decided to take this opportunity to learn new skills to take our business to the next level.”

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