A NEW initiative to help businesses and not-for-profit organisations get the most out of high-speed internet was launched in Chancery Lane yesterday.
The former Labor federal government allocated $285,000 for the Digital Enterprise Program to offer training and mentoring over the next two years.
The iBendigo Loddon Mallee Group will facilitate 50 training sessions and 180 one-on-one mentoring sessions to small-to-medium enterprises, not-for-profit organisations and local cultural institutions.
Five targeted programs including building websites, using smart phones and tablets, social media, digital marketing and cloud computing will be rolled out between now and Christmas.
iBendigo chair Bruce Winzar said it was the "exciting launch of an exciting project".
"It is a fantastic initiative to raise awareness of the opportunities high-speed broadband will bring to our region," he said.
"This program has been developed to cater for everyone, from beginner to advanced, because every small business in every industry uses broadband in some way."
He said the group was also working on a digital strategy.
"Today is the start of a very special part of Bendigo's future," he said.
"We hope iBendigo will become the focal point for businesses wanting to make the most out of the digital economy."
Jools for Jim owner Jill Cantwell joked she "needed all the training she could get".
"I am using a lot more social media these days," she said. "It's a great way to reach an audience quickly and easily.
"I don't know how to do it properly though so I am looking forward to getting proper training."
The Dispensary Enoteca's owner Tim Baxter said he would like to learn how to use social media more efficiently.
"The growth and importance of social media over the last five years is incredible," he said.
For more information see www.ibendigo.org.au.