The City of Melbourne’s Business Concierge team is ramping up support for small businesses, helping them through another four weeks of trading restrictions.
The Business Concierge service provides one-on-one advice to business owners impacted by COVID-19, and helps them access support and important business information.
Lord Mayor Sally Capp said thousands of businesses are accessing the service through one of the most difficult trading periods in living memory.
“We know ongoing restrictions are significantly impacting our local business owners, and many are struggling to survive. We’re hearing from operators who are scared and frustrated, and desperate to reopen,” the Lord Mayor said.
“Our Business Concierge team has done a mighty job since being introduced in March last year, which is why we allocated $1 million in this year’s Budget to expand the important service.
“Over the coming weeks, Business Concierge staff will be calling business owners directly to check in on their plans and wellbeing, and provide any further support in the lead up to the city’s reopening.
“We’ll be using that feedback to advocate to the State and Federal governments for measures to allow businesses to reopen safely as soon as restrictions allow.”
Since the start of the pandemic, the Business Concierge team has had more than 24,000 conversations with local business owners.
Small Business deputy portfolio lead, Councillor Kevin Louey, said businesses are desperate for additional support.
“Business owners want help to access financial assistance and health and wellbeing support, and our Business Concierge team is doing what it can to connect them with the right services,” Cr Louey said.
“Traders also want our help to bring the city back to life, which is why we’re preparing to roll out a range of initiatives and events to drive visitation and spending in the city as soon as restrictions allow.”
Melbourne restaurant owner Alan Chong has been accessing the Business Concierge team for support throughout the pandemic.
“Our restaurant and bar Tian38 has been hit hard. We’ve switched to takeaway, but sales have dropped, and our ability to support our employees has been affected,” Mr Chong said.
“The Business Concierge team has been a wealth of information in helping us navigate this difficult period. They’ve checked in regularly and helped us to apply for grants and other support.
“The team have always been compassionate and helpful, and I’m extremely grateful for their assistance.”
Business Concierge is funded by the $100 million Melbourne City Recovery Fund – a collaboration between the City of Melbourne and the Victorian Government.