More grants to boost small businesses

Waste minimisation, technology, and Melbourne’s first bar laboratory are among the round one winners of the City of Melbourne’s flagship Small Business and Social Enterprise Grants.

Lord Mayor Sally Capp said the grants had a long history of helping local businesses grow into thriving well-known brands.

“We’re incredibly proud that past recipients of these grants have gone on to enjoy huge success while also contributing to our city’s rich and diverse hospitality, innovation, sustainability and tourism sectors,” the Lord Mayor said.

“Past grant recipients include sustainability leader KeepCup (2008), delicious chocolatier Koko Black (2003) and handmade jewellery gallery e.g.etal which celebrated its 20 year anniversary last year.”

Chair of the Small Business, Retail and Hospitality portfolio, Councillor Susan Riley, said this year the grants had been expanded into two funding rounds. Across the two grants streams, a total of 14 recipients are sharing in $300,000 in round one – with a further $500,000 to be offered in round two, which opens on Monday 5 August.

“We’re excited to offer two rounds of grant applications so that even more small businesses and social enterprises can participate,” Cr Riley said.

“Small businesses make up almost 80 per cent of Melbourne’s total businesses – and play a vital role in helping our city to prosper and shape our vibrant community.”

Cr Riley said this year’s successful round one recipients represented some of the most innovative small businesses and social enterprises helping to shape Melbourne.

“There’s a huge variety of grant recipients this year for businesses doing amazing things. Helping the environment is Unpackaged Eco which uses smart technology to reduce packing in retail and Worksmith Coworking is a new bar ‘laboratory’ training bar tenders in the latest tastes. On the App front, Bookbot has been created by a dad to help his son learn to read,” Cr Riley said.

Melbourne’s knowledge sector is well represented, with half working in the technology, analytics and biotechnology industries. Other sectors represented include hospitality, sustainability, creative industries, education, and training and employment opportunities.

This year, round 2 grants also include an extra $100,000 for businesses with a waste minimisation proposal, as part of Council’s plan to transition to 90 per cent waste diverted from landfill, under the Waste and Resource Recovery Strategy 2030.

For the first time since 2015, the City is also funding Social Enterprise Grants.

“Melbourne is a city that cares, with many wonderful social enterprises working hard to support people experiencing disadvantage,” Cr Riley said.

“The City of Melbourne’s Social Enterprise Grants provide an opportunity for these enterprises to kick-off new initiatives or expand existing projects.”

The Small Business Grants program is one of the City of Melbourne’s most successful. Since beginning in 1996, the program has awarded more than $8.3 million in funding to almost 400 small businesses.

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