1200 local businesses innovate with grants

From gourmet cheese deliveries to a taxi for pets, we have helped local businesses innovate and thrive during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond by awarding $5 million in quick-response business grants.

The funding has supported more than 1200 small to medium-sized businesses and non-profit organisations to invest in online and e-commerce capabilities, take part in training and professional development, and undertake capital works.

Councillor Susan Riley, Chair of the Small Business, Retail and Hospitality portfolio, said we received an exceptional number of applications from a broad range of industries, with hospitality, retail, professional services, education and business services making up the top five.

‘We have a community of entrepreneurial business owners who want to make changes so they can keep trading in this new environment,’ Cr Riley said.

‘The strength of our business community will help return our city to a thriving place to do business and these grants will provide crucial funding that will make a difference now, and into the future.’

Carlton fromagerie Milk the Cow had to close its restaurant temporarily due to COVID-19, and limitations will remain on the number of patrons it can serve in-house once restrictions ease. We provided a grant to help the team expand its online offering.

‘Our revenue was literally 95 per cent down at our Carlton store overnight. We managed to keep the doors open and employ some staff by doing takeaway but it was a huge hit for us,’ said owner Daniel Verheyen.

‘We’re generally a pretty positive group at Milk the Cow, but to be honest we’re all a bit weary, and wary, from the past few months. It feels like lifetimes have passed, we all had to adapt so many times.

‘It’s been the cliché of COVID, but we are all in this together – customers, suppliers, employers. And we’re not out of it yet. With borders closed, we’re depending on each other more than ever now. Local is everything.’

To read our full interview with Daniel, visit Meet the owner of Milk the Cow.

For more information about the local, state and federal support available to businesses, and to subscribe to our business newsletter, visit Business.

Our Business Concierge Hotline is also here for all businesses in the municipality. More than 5500 businesses affected by COVID-19 have sought assistance through the service so far. Simply phone 9658 9658 and press 1 for business. You can also submit your query online.

A dachshund puppy next to a laptop

We awarded a grant to help a veterinary clinic expand its contact-free services

Meet three more business grant recipients

Virtual holiday programs for kids

KidsCo usually runs school holiday programs in large office buildings for children of the employees who work there. With help from a grant, the business moved to a virtual model.

Telehealth for pets

Veterinary clinic All Creatures on Hoddle is now running consultations online. We awarded the clinic a grant to purchase a small vehicle for picking up and dropping off animals, for when hands-on treatment is required.

E-mentoring for entrepreneurs

Ngarrimili received funding to offer its support and mentoring programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses online. The grant will help with a website upgrade, content development and marketing.