Festival focuses on small businesses

The Bendigo Small Business Festival was launched at The Capital on Wednesday.
The Bendigo Small Business Festival was launched at The Capital on Wednesday.

A FESTIVAL tailored to small businesses was launched at The Capital on Wednesday.

Beginning on August 1 and continuing to September, the Bendigo Small Business Festival will host more than 30 events for small business owners, managers, staff and anyone considering starting or growing a small business.

The festival is part of the Small Business Festival Victoria which features over 500 free or low cost events throughout Victoria during August.

City of Greater Bendigo strategy and growth director Bernie O’Sullivan said the small businesses are important to the local economy.

“There are more than 7700 businesses operating in Greater Bendigo,” Mr O’Sullivan said.

“Ninety-seven per cent are small businesses employing less than 20 staff which equates to approximately half of the local workforce.  

“The festival is a great opportunity for these small local businesses to gain some important and useful information and connect with members of business and networking groups from across the region.”

City of Greater Bendigo councillor Rod Fyffe said the festival was a chance for people to explore the potential of small business.

“There are many people in the community who want to start their own business but might need a bit more encouragement,” he said.

“From that point of view, these festivals are just fantastic for opening people's eyes, giving them that confidence and holding their hand if necessary.

“This festival gives you the opportunity to network with people to find out what has worked and what hasn't.”

Local and visiting experts will host events with the Victorian Government Roadshow featuring Olympic gold medallist Lydia Lassila at Ulumbarra Theatre on Wednesday, August 2 and the Microbusiness Expo taking lace at the Bendigo Library from August 25 to 31.

Events will cover a huge range of topics including health and safety compliance, networking, online business best practice, pricing your service or product, legal necessities, tax essentials, how to find and win grants, working from home, leadership, mentoring and more.

“(Small businesses) are worth $3.5 billion worth to Bendigo economy,” Cr Fyffe said.

“It is just phenomenal, to think that in the small business sector, 85 per cent of them employ five people or less.

“There are a lot of extraordinary and great success stories.”

The Small Business Festival Victoria is supported by the City of Greater Bendigo’s Regional Sustainable Development Unit.