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Business hub marks first year of supporting local enterprise

Business

A unique collaboration between small business, Brisbane City Council and some key figures from the top end of town has just celebrated its first year of existence.

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The Brisbane Business Hub was born out of the necessity to support the city’s small businesses through the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic. It has since attracted around 4500 people to 144 workshops and seminars over the past 12 months.

Its first birthday comes as Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner announces a $250,000 Women in Business grants program aimed at the 35 percent of small businesses run by females.

Occupying space in a section of the Regent Theatre building in the Queen St Mall, it is aimed at giving small business free advice and a city working environment to connect with other enterprises.

The hub is run by the council’s business development arm, the Brisbane Economic Development Agency (formerly Brisbane Marketing), which has turned its focus from attracting students and international investment to Brisbane before the pandemic to supporting local businesses and start-ups.

The facility regularly runs seminars and one-on-one mentoring sessions for small business.

The co-founder of local activewear accessory brand VIVRA, Emily Bitkow, said while her business was not always easy it was reassuring to know the services offered by the hub were there if needed.

“It’s the collaboration between the partners, mentors, facilitators and local businesses that has resulted in the strong community which helps take businesses to the next level,” she said.

Schrinner said the Women in Business grants would be open eligible female-owned organisations who could apply for up to $5000 each.

He said the grants program was aimed at helping businesswomen get training and education,  procure professional services or buy business equipment from local contractors and suppliers.

Applicants would need to show how the grant will help their business to increase revenue and create jobs while demonstrating their operations were sustainable.

The agency has built a solid base of partners supporting the business hub, including Gadens, Queensland University of Technology, the Australian Taxation Office and Optus.

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