A Regional Development Business Hub will be established in the Armidale central business district, to offer expert assistance and peer support for local business operators and help build the economy.
The one-stop shop for business assistance will be based in the former Armidale library building, in response to feedback from local business operators at a well-attended Business Symposium Breakfast held by Council last month.
Council Chief Executive Officer Susan Law has confirmed Council would immediately convene a steering group of business people to oversee the Hub’s formation.
Ms Law said Council was looking to partner with other organisations to provide the “one-stop shop for business meetings, business youth services, hot desking, business support and start-up assistance programs”.
“We are engaging with the University of New England’s Smart Region Incubator, chambers of commerce and other business groups to ascertain their appetite to partner with Council,” she said.
“Council will contribute funds, in collaboration with other stakeholders, to develop plans and budgets for the Hub and to develop the old library precinct.
“We will also locate key Council staff at the Hub, such as planning and regulatory officers, on a rotational basis to add to the services on offer and to further demonstrate that Council is open for business.”
Armidale Regional Council Mayor Simon Murray said the hub was one of the key recommendations to emerge from the booked out and extremely constructive business symposium on 24 July.
The recommendations also included:
• Forming a consultative group of key businesses and economic experts to engage with the business community to develop a vision and strategy for business and economic growth in the Armidale region
• Promoting regional business development initiatives, success stories and reinvigorated business branding
• Mapping the local business community and support services to strengthen business collaboration and enable program that effectively target specific business sectors
• Fostering programs and practices that:
o help local operators do business outside the region to bring money into the area
o encourage local operators to do business with one another, to keep money circulating within the region, rather than spending it elsewhere
“Council is acting now on the Hub and will soon engage with business to progress the other recommendations, to ensure we don’t lose any of the momentum generated by the symposium,” Councillor Murray said.
“That forum demonstrated and further developed a great commitment by businesses to work together to build our region as a whole, offering the opportunity for everyone to benefit and grow.
“We’re looking forward to holding a similar event for businesses later this year, after last month’s symposium sold out and we had many more businesses expressing an interest to attend.”