Market traders access free business mentoring

Hundreds of Queen Victoria Market traders are growing and innovating their small businesses after accessing expert business advice through the City of Melbourne’s $8 million Trader Connect program.

Lord Mayor Sally Capp said the program was an important component of the $250 million renewal project and linked traders with business partners from the Small Business Mentoring Service to help them operate and develop their businesses.

“Queen Victoria Market is home to more than 650 small businesses, which provide a unique shopping experience for locals and visitors to Melbourne,” the Lord Mayor said.

“The City of Melbourne established the Trader Connect program two years ago to ensure traders can thrive throughout renewal and for generations to come. The renewal project will build a better market for traders and shoppers, while retaining its unique character and heritage.

“The business mentoring support has been embraced by market traders with 507 sessions already taking place.

“The response from traders on the Trader Lounge has been overwhelmingly positive because the program provides business mentoring and on-site facilities including computers, printers, meeting rooms and lockers. Importantly, these facilities will be delivered permanently through the renewal project.

“As the City of Melbourne’s $250 million market renewal progresses, traders can continue to access face-to-face advice from mentors either at their stalls or at one-on-one sessions at the Trader Lounge,” the Lord Mayor said.

Chair of the City of Melbourne Small Business portfolio, Councillor Susan Riley said the mentoring program had supported Danielle Walsh from Spotty Dot children’s toys and gifts in the recently-revitalised String Bean Alley.

“The mentors helped Danielle with retail strategy, marketing and a new logo. She also worked with RMIT students to rebuild her website and create social media campaigns which have resulted in increased foot traffic and sales,” Cr Riley said.

Councillor Riley said Kris Robinson from Art N Groove was another trader who had accessed the mentoring program.

“Through mentoring support, Kris has gone from having a basic online presence to establishing a brand new website and promoting his unique art and photography business through social media,” Cr Riley said.

“Trader Connect is having a real impact for traders who are working hard every day to make a success of their small businesses.

“Research conducted in July this year showed 92 per cent of respondents found the Trader Connect mentoring sessions useful and 65 per cent thought their informal conversations with experts were helpful.”

The trader lounge is located opposite the market at 266 Victoria Street.

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