Media releases

Championing small businesses in Melbourne

21 August 2023

The City of Melbourne is boosting small businesses, with $500,000 to support new and existing traders and breathe new life into empty shopfronts.  

The Small Business Grants Program will return for the first time since 2019, providing grants of up to $20,000 to support innovation and expansion. 

City businesses can apply for funding under two categories: 

  • Open – supporting new or established small businesses that are looking to expand their offering
  • Shopfront Occupancy – helping small businesses activate vacant spaces in the city  

The program is set to support 25 local businesses – adding to Melbourne’s vibrancy with new retail, hospitality and creative offerings.  

Council will also invest $100,000 to boost Melbourne’s business events through its Business Event Sponsorship Program, with events ranging from conferences, forums, expos and networking functions.

Last year’s program played a critical role in connecting and informing people in Melbourne’s important innovation and knowledge sectors.

Applications for the Small Business Grants Program and the Business Event Sponsorship Program open on Tuesday 22 August and will close Monday 25 September.  

For more information or to apply, visit the City of Melbourne.

 Quotes attributable to Lord Mayor Sally Capp  

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of the city. That’s why we’re bringing back our Small Business Grants which consist of funding for new and existing traders to help make their business ideas a reality.”

“Over the past year, Melbourne’s retail vacancy has dropped to the lowest rate in the country at 10.7 per cent. We will continue to invest across a diverse range of sectors as we work towards our goal of 5 per cent retail vacancy or less.”

“We’ve also seen positive signs across a range of Melbourne’s key economic indicators – including that 90 per cent more traders have applied for permits to upgrade their businesses compared to last year – which highlights trader confidence in the city.”

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

“Melbourne’s small businesses are critical to the economic and social well-being of our city, Since 1998, we’ve provided hundreds of small business grants, providing a valuable boost to existing businesses or a kick-start for new businesses.”  

“As our economy continues to evolve and grow, we know business events will be critical in securing new investment in our city.”  

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21 August 2023

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