With population growth many people see economic opportunities. This is one of the reasons the Macarthur region is becoming home to so many small and micro businesses. Highly qualified people are striking out on their own to fill the demand for many trades and services around Macarthur.
I recently spoke with Cr George Brticevic, Mayor of Campbelltown. Cr Brticevic spoke about the importance of small and micro businesses to the local economy. Cr Brticevic was elected to Campbelltown City Council in 2012, and voted in as Mayor in September 2016 for a twoyear term.
Small Business and Campbelltown
While all councils like to attract large businesses and investments, Campbelltown Council also sees the contribution of small business as very important. Cr Brticevic pointed out that council must work with businesses. ‘We want Campbelltown to be recognised as a place where people can do it all, but we realise we can’t do it alone’. The Mayor sees ‘Local small businesses are the backbone of the local economy’. He added ‘Council sees working with small to medium businesses to create local jobs for local people as an important economic tool for the city’s future’. Campbelltown Council has recently been busy engaging directly with the local Chambers of Commerce, as well as providing training and support for small business.
Micro Business Expo
Campbelltown Council hosted a Micro Business Expo on October 18th this year. This was a free event giving local micro businesses some excellent exposure. Cr Brticevic was encouraged by ‘The range of industry sectors including web development, health and wellbeing, accounting, skincare and beauty, business and lifestyle coaching, food and more’. There was also a lot of networking between businesses on the day, strengthening local business relationships. Campbelltown Council worked in conjunction with Carlene Cardona-Elvy, owner of South West Sydney Virtual Assistant in Minto to run the event.
Council Supported Workshops
Recently Campbelltown Council hosted a Capability Workshop run by the Australian Business Solutions Group, the business arm of the NSW Business Chamber. This was a multi-session workshop and included a one-onone coaching session. This was aimed to help local small businesses owners understand digital marketing and enable them to create a digital marketing strategy.
There are also regular events designed to assist local small businesses, these can be found on Campbelltown Council’s website. Cr Brticevic stressed ‘Council is putting a lot of effort into its calendar of events and activities for small businesses, and ensuring that the offering is relevant to them. We are committed to providing many opportunities for them to network, learn and come together in a variety of forums’. He also added ‘We want to achieve a strong local economy – for that to happen, we need our small business sector to be successful. By providing them with more learning opportunities to build and grow their businesses, we hope to do just that’.
Small Business Focus
While Campbelltown Council is providing opportunities for local business people to learn and improve their businesses they don’t claim to have all the answers.
Council is constantly looking for feedback on what businesses need and are asking for suggestions. The message from Cr Brticevic is ‘Provide us suggestions – talk to us’!
Fostering strong connection with local businesses is a great thing, and council also believes encouraging strong relationships between businesses is very important. The Mayor stressed ‘As a group, so many things can be achieved. The city is going to change significantly over the next 20 years because of the population growth – we want to make sure that our businesses are ready for that and grow successfully’.
A modern trend in some areas is the creation of smart work hubs. Essentially a shared office and facilities for small businesses that cannot yet afford to go out fully on their own. This is a cost-effective way for small businesses to access space and business facilities. Currently South West Sydney Virtual Assistant in Minto has a small work hub that is proving popular and assisting some businesses in a very important stage of their growth.
Campbelltown Council can see the benefits a larger smart work hub could provide local businesses. Cr Brticevic said ‘We acknowledge that there are a number of home based businesses which could benefit from a smart work hub in Campbelltown, and that may be investigated as part of our work to progress the CBD revitalisation and health and education projects’.
I find it encouraging that Campbelltown Council sees the importance of small and micro businesses to the local economy. I would encourage local small business owners to look at events that Campbelltown Council are running for small business at https://www.campbelltown.nsw.gov.au/WhatsOn.