Regional conference set to grow

Generic photo. Picture: THINKSTOCK

Generic photo. Picture: THINKSTOCK

A REGIONAL business conference will be replicated across the state following the success of an inaugural event in the Macedon Ranges during May. 

Forty-seven businesses attended the two-day conference to explore topics such as social media, finance and marketing.

Small Business Victoria presenter Bruce Hall said the concept was a first for the state and would be put to other councils to try. 

"I’m sure other councils would be keen to run their business events in this format," he said. 

"It’s difficult for regional businesses to access quality professional development.

"A conference format that is locally-based makes this much easier."

Macedon Ranges Shire Council mayor Roger Jukes said council would look to make the conference an annual event following the positive response from participants. 

"It was really good," he said. 

"In the past we had held workshops at night for small businesses but it proved a challenge.

"Businesses wanted something in the day that they could pick and choose what sessions they attended."

Cr Jukes said small business made up a high percentage of business in the Macedon Ranges.

"(Attendees) appreciated the fact that it was both affordable and easily accessible because of its location in Kyneton," he said. 

Small Business Victoria presenter Tim Gentle said a conference highlight included the hands-on social media workshops which focused on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. 

"I guided them through the potential, what’s available and how to do it," he said. 

"The participants embraced this new knowledge and understood that they have to keep up, or be left behind. 

"To demonstrate the diversity of the digital world, we also set up a Google Hangout.   

"Each attendee was filmed introducing themselves and their business, and the video was posted on YouTube." 

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