Media releases

Making Melbourne the best place to do business

22 February 2024

An electric motorbike showroom, a boutique bag shop using upcycled prints, and a paw-some bakery for pets are set to liven up shopfronts across the City of Melbourne – supporting local jobs and driving visitation.

Council’s Small Business Grants Program will provide $520,000 across 24 local businesses, helping to kickstart new ventures and expand existing businesses in the city.

Grants of up to $30,000 will support businesses across a diverse range of sectors including retail, hospitality, manufacturing, technology and health and wellbeing.

These grants have a special focus on supporting businesses to set up in empty shopfronts or improve their offerings through fit-out works.

This builds on Council’s Shopfront Activation Program, which helped to reduce shopfront vacancies from 20 per cent in January 2022 to 11.5 per cent in January 2024.

Organisations to receive funding include:

  • Savic Motorcycles – a company that designs and manufactures high-performance electric motorcycles in Australia
  • Beekeeper Parade – an up-and-coming retailer making bags and accessories using recycled clothes and fabric
  • Supaw Pet Bakery – a unique bakery specialising in bespoke birthday cakes for dogs and cats
  • Killara Café – a social enterprise that employs Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, with plans to establish a café with a culturally safe working environment
  • Virtetic – a digital health company developing game-based virtual reality therapeutics to assist people living with limb loss.

Council is also supporting and promoting business events by investing $100,000 in the Business Events Sponsorship Program.

Grants of up to $10,000 have been allocated to seminars, workshops and networking functions across a diverse range of sectors – encouraging workers to share ideas and drive innovation into the city.

Business events to receive funding include:

  • Power Utilities Australia – a forum to discuss the opportunities and challenges of evolving the energy sector
  • Bionics Institute Innovation Lecture – bringing together members of the medtech sector to share knowledge on medical innovation
  • Enactus Australia Championships – a multi-day event focused on innovative ideas in the social impact space, attended by more than 300 university, business and corporate leaders
  • The 13th Annual Microcap Investment Conference – a platform for emerging ASX-listed fintech companies to present their companies to investors
  • The Melbourne Business Analytics Conference – a seminar for business professionals to enhance knowledge in machine learning, AI and advance data analytics.

For more information, visit City of Melbourne.

Quotes attributable to Acting Lord Mayor Nicholas Reece

“We want Melbourne to be the best place in the world to do business bar none. That’s why we’re providing new opportunities for businesses to grow and making it easier than ever to start a new venture.”

“Entrepreneurs are keen to take advantage of the bounce back in pedestrian activity and vibrant culture in the City of Melbourne.”

“More than 110 jobs will be created thanks to this funding, with new businesses accounting for around half of recipients.”

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

“Our small business grants are supporting the unsung champions of our city.”

“More than a quarter of recipients will be turning vacant shopfronts into bustling places of business – that means more foot traffic and dollars spent.”

“Our business events calendar is crucial to our local economy – bringing thousands of delegates to the city each year, while showcasing Melbourne as a great place to do business.”

Quotes attributable to Savic Motorcycles CEO Dennis Savic

“We’re extremely grateful to the City of Melbourne for their support.”

“This grant has helped us in setting up our West Melbourne showroom that displays the ground breaking vehicles and technologies that are developed locally, and soon to be enjoyed by our customers, nationally.”

Quotes attributable to Supaw Pet Bakery Director of Business Leo Leng

“Thanks to this grant, our pet bakery specialising in unique birthday cakes can now expand its capacity. This means more joy for Melbourne’s pets and their owners.”

“A big ‘paw-sitive’ thank you to the City of Melbourne for making this expansion possible!”

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22 February 2024

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