Five small businesses have received government grants of up to $30,000 from the City of Melbourne as part of its Small Business Grants Program, which includes a category specifically for start-ups. The program provides financial assistance to small businesses located in or intending to locate to the City of Melbourne.
The funding program has been running since 1996 as part of the council’s Enterprise Melbourne program, giving people easy access to information about operating a business in the city. The Small Business Grants Program is broken down into categories of start-up, business expansion, export entry and business support services. The latest round of government grants provided up to $30,000 to five small businesses and up to $25,000 to two social enterprises in the municipality. Grant recipients in the start-up category include a leather shoe shop, a gents accessory store, and a tech company that will enable the transformation of the electricity grid system into a smart grid system.
Lord Coconut plans to open a new retail store and gallery for men, specialising in handcrafted jewellery, cufflinks and art that will showcase the work of Melbourne artisan jewellers and designers. The government funding will assist the business with fit-out and visual merchandising in the store as well as their website functionality.
Roberts & Hassett will start a handmade and bespoke shoemaking business, offering specialised designs to produce luxury and long-lasting shoes and leather accessories. The government funding will be used to purchase equipment required for making the items and will also assist with the store fit-out and website development.
Semitech Semiconductor is a high tech company that leads advanced communication implementations in the power line medium. Delivering those techniques is intended to bring new capabilities in monitoring and control to the power transmission and distribution network and will thus deliver energy more efficiently.
The government funds will be used to acquire development and testing tools, which will speed up product development phase. The statistics show that small business makes up 83% of businesses in the Melbourne municipality.
In most cases, the biggest hurdle for a small business is getting that great idea off the ground and that is what the government grants are designed to assist with. The start-up grants are designed to assist with the establishment of new and innovative small businesses. Key target sectors are advanced manufacturing, biotechnology, finance and business services, environment services, higher education, information and communication technologies, creative industries, hospitality and retail.
The government funding can be used to assist with the cost of improving the façade and fit-out of business premises, developing or enhancing a business website and purchasing equipment. General operational expenses such as rent, utilities, training, marketing, networking and staff remuneration are not usually considered.
There is an external independent review panel that considers each application on a competitive and merit basis, following which makes recommendations to a specific council committee for approval. These small business grants have been certainly inspiring to the upcoming entrepreneurs of Melbourne City.
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