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Expanded support to boost local businesses

14 May 2024

More Melbourne businesses will get the help and tools they need to start, grow and succeed – thanks to a supercharged support team.

The City of Melbourne’s draft Budget 2024–25 will invest $1.6 million to expand the Business Concierge program – making it easier to open and operate a business.

The program has been operating successfully in the city centre since 2020 and will now extend to neighbourhoods beyond the Hoddle Grid.

The new-look team will support businesses by providing free start-up advice, streamlining permit processes, connecting traders with teams across Council and cutting red tape.

Precincts will receive added support during key periods to help traders leverage increased activity. For example, the team will work with Docklands businesses in the lead-up to the Firelight Festival in June, to ensure they’re making the most of an upswing in visitors to the area.

The expanded Business Concierge service is an investment expected to help create 640 new jobs and inject $70 million into the local economy.

In the past year, the service supported more than 160 businesses – helping create 470 jobs and $52 million in economic value.

The team also helped 74 traders open their doors – halving the time it previously took to open up shop from eight to four months.

To further boost business and encourage more visitors to the city, $26.4 million will be invested in another blockbuster calendar of events – delivering $7.50 for every $1 spent into the local economy.

The City of Melbourne will spend $4.8 million on New Year’s Eve celebrations, delivering a bigger and brighter celebration zone at Town Hall, rooftop laser shows, and countdown to midnight screens at three iconic city locations.

Firelight Festival will light up with an extended program this winter, premiering a never-before-seen underground light and sound experience, thanks to a $1.8 million boost.

Council will also support innovation and more jobs – with $500,000 earmarked for the gaming and tech sectors, including accelerator programs, gaming studios and industry events.

A further $1.2 million will be allocated for Business Precinct Associations, while backing traders to make their mark on the city through the $500,000 Small Business Grants and $150,000 Aboriginal Small Business Grants programs.

Invest Melbourne will receive $3.2 million to create more jobs, drive further innovation and attract new business to the city – with another 146 investment projects in the pipeline.

In the past year, Invest Melbourne attracted 81 investment projects to Melbourne, creating around 1,200 new full-time jobs and almost $370 million in economic impact.

The draft Budget 2024–25 will be announced on Tuesday 14 May, with public consultation to follow until 5:30pm Monday 3 June.

Quotes attributable to Lord Mayor Sally Capp

“This draft Budget is about doing what counts – and returning to surplus is what’s best for our city, our businesses and our community.”

“Business Concierge is a proven success and we’re expanding the team beyond the CBD for the first time, meaning more traders will receive the tools and support they need to succeed.”

“We know how important this program is – that’s why we’re boosting our support by making the team bigger and more proactive. More than 80 businesses are due to open this year, creating 400 new jobs, and our team will be there to make sure these traders get the support and help they need to thrive.”

Quote attributable to City Activation portfolio lead Councillor Roshena Campbell

“Last year, our world class events calendar drove 6 million visitors into the city and injected $226 million into the local economy. We’re investing to build on this momentum and attract more people into the city.”

Quote attributable to Small Business portfolio lead Councillor Jason Chang

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy – which is why we’re proud to arm them with the tools, support and resources they need to be as successful as possible.”

Quote attributable to Business and Global Opportunities portfolio lead Councillor Kevin Louey

“Through Invest Melbourne, and our dedicated Precinct Association program across the city, we are making Melbourne a vibrant hub of activity – and a place worth investing in.”

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