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Putting small business friendly commitments into practice



Our Small Business Friendly Council initiative is about local councils and the Victorian Small Business Commission (VSBC) coming together to support small businesses to get started and thrive.

There’s never been a more important time than now for councils get on board and help create a more inclusive and competitive local business environment.

So what does ‘being small business friendly’ look like in practice? A shining example is South Gippsland Shire Council, who have shared with us insights into their approach:

Managing disruption

To revitalise Leongatha’s main street, the council undertook a major capital works project that included improving footpaths, moving overhead powerlines underground, replacing water mains and introducing new energy efficient street lighting.

Guided by the VSBC’s Victorian small business engagement guidelines, the council created the Bair Street Reference Group. The result? Clear, frequent and two-way communication between the council and affected small businesses about ways to mitigate disruption throughout each and every stage of the project.

Streamlining approvals

To improve permit approval processes, the council undertook the Better Approvals Project in consultation with local business owners.

Councils that undertake the project work with Small Business Victoria and expert consultants to codesign and implement solutions to make it quicker and easier for people to open a small business in their region.

Paying promptly

The council’s existing process is to pay invoices immediately after having received the goods and services.

In becoming small business friendly, councils can introduce processes to make sure small businesses are paid within 14 days or sign up to the Australian Supplier Payment Code.

Supporting networks

The council has ongoing, active engagement with business associations. They also:

Sharing information

Local business are linked in with Business Victoria resources via the council’s website and workshops, and prospective business owners who are looking to enter into a retail lease are encouraged to access the VSBC’s retail lease checklist.

The council has also explored opportunities to develop new business resources. They recently launched Open in Your Area – a handy A-Z of South Gippsland’s businesses that includes changes to how they’re operating during the pandemic.

Maintaining communication

The council maintain open channels of communication with the VSBC, which means letting us know of any issues impacting local business, referring commercial disputes to us and promoting our dispute resolutions services via their website.

Find out more

Learn more about what it means to be a Small Business Friendly Council and the benefits local businesses can reap.