Local government’s small-business support role has never mattered more than it does now, and the City of Mandurah is an exemplar of what councils can achieve in this space.
To help it to identify and encourage locals who were willing to start a business but who lacked the expertise needed to make it pay, the council established its Entrepreneurial Capacity Building Program (ECPB) in 2014.
Under the ECPB, the City has delivered programs like Mumpreneur 101 – for mothers who want to operate a home-based business – and StartUp Smart Creative for those wanting to learn how to create a product range for sale.
These beginner programs are delivered over eight weeks, with the City providing ongoing support through active social media networks, group mentoring sessions, and a resource library.
For its innovative approach to nurturing small businesses in a region of high unemployment and limited educational opportunities, Mandurah was awarded a 2020 National Award for Local Government in the category of Contributing to Regional Growth.
The judges’ panel described the council’s EPCB as outstanding.
“It addresses a common need in regional economies – helping marginalised groups to fulfil their potential by lowering barriers to small-business creation,” the panel said.
“The results are impressive, with 65 percent of program participants registering an Australian Business Number, the creation of 80 full-time and 300 part-time jobs, and the addition of $6.5 million to gross regional product.
To help previous program participants to assess their ongoing business, identify and address gaps, and design and implement social media strategies, Mandurah has developed two new next-level courses – Power Up and Leverage.
Mandurah is now in the running for the overall National Award for Local Government (NALG) to be announced at ALGA’s Special Local Roads and Transport Congress in Wagga Wagga NSW on 16-17 November – along with the Minister’s Award.
The awards highlight innovative and resourceful solutions implemented by local governments to make a difference to their local communities – and are sponsored by the Federal Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, and Communications.