The SBDC’s Small Business Friendly Local Governments initiative has celebrated five years and passing 50 members with local government stakeholders.

Chief Executive Officers and economic development specialists from WA local governments joined the Minister for Small Business, Hon Reece Whitby MLA and Small Business Commissioner and Small Business Development Corporation Chief Executive Officer, David Eaton to celebrate the five-year anniversary of the SBDC’s Small Business Friendly Local Governments initiative at a networking event.

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Photo of Nick Sloan, CEO WALA and Tony Brun, CEO City of Cockburn at the milestone celebration.
Nick Sloan, CEO WALGA and Tony Brun, CEO City of Cockburn at the milestone celebration.

To date, 51 local government authorities have joined the landmark initiative, which acknowledges and encourages councils that support small businesses in their local areas. Participating local governments sign a charter pledging to work on activities that help smooth the way for local small businesses during establishment and growth. They regularly report progress to the SBDC on these activities and their outcomes.

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Photo of the SBDC’s Small Business Friendly Approvals Manager Lauren Westcott (L) with guests Nigel Redwood, Stevan Rodic, Renuka Puri and Austin Donaghey from the City of Stirling
The SBDC’s Small Business Friendly Approvals Manager Lauren Westcott (L) with guests Nigel Redwood, Stevan Rodic, Renuka Puri and Austin Donaghey from the City of Stirling.

The SBDC started the Small Business Friendly Local Governments initiative in 2016 — the second of its kind in Australia — to drive home the importance of small business communities. It was inspired by a similar NSW program that commenced in 2014.

Today, around 180,000 small businesses in WA, nearly 80 per cent of the 227,000 small businesses in the state, are operating within in a Small Business Friendly Local Government.

David Eaton said the Small Business Friendly Local Governments initiative had helped hundreds of small businesses to thrive.

“In WA, small businesses account for 97 per cent of all businesses and we are acutely aware of the hurdles some of them have had to endure, particularly in the past 18 months,” Mr Eaton said.

“This grassroots program has proven crucial to removing barriers faced by many small businesses to give them the best opportunity to succeed.

“We have seen cities, towns and shires across the state introduce forward-thinking supports for small businesses from ‘buy local’ campaigns to the creation of online business platforms to better connect small business owners and reduce red tape.” Mr Eaton said the project was relevant to all municipal areas, no matter the size. The latest signatories are the Shire of Boddington, which has 139 small businesses, and the City of Perth, which has 12,009 small businesses.

Small Business Minister, Hon Reece Whitby MLA, said of the program "Small businesses are at the heart of many local government areas, and their experience in seeking approvals or accessing support can make a real difference to their success.”

Mr Whitby congratulated the local governments that had signed up and said he hoped to see even more making a genuine commitment to supporting their small business community.

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Photo of Small Business Minister Hon Reece Whitby MLA with SBDC Board Chair Steven Dobson.
Small Business Minister Hon Reece Whitby MLA with SBDC Board Chair Steven Dobson.

Guests at the event enjoyed the Welcome to Country by Wadjuk Noongar representative and business owner, Mr Barry McGuire, who spoke about his experiences getting support from the SBDC when first starting his business. Today, Redspear Safety is a major supplier of safety products to the resources and construction industries in Western Australia and beyond.

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Photo of Wadjuk Noongar representative Barry McGuire conducting a Welcome To Country on behalf of the traditional owners of the land attendees met on, at Perth waterfront.
Wadjuk Noongar representative Barry McGuire conducted a Welcome To Country on behalf of the traditional owners of the land attendees met on, at Perth waterfront.

A panel discussion moderated by Mr Eaton shared the experiences of local governments CEOs who have participated in the Small Business Friendly initiative as well as the SBDC’s Small Business Friendly Approvals Program. Chief Executive Officers Daniel Simms (City of Wanneroo), Wayne Jack (City of Kwinana), Anthony Vuleta (Town of Victoria Park) and Director of Planning and Development at the City of Stirling, Stevan Rodic, shared their wins and learnings from the SBDC programs.

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Photo of Wayne Jack, Anthony Vuleta, Stev Rodic and Daniel Simms participating in a panel discussion moderated by David Eaton.
Wayne Jack, Anthony Vuleta, Stev Rodic and Daniel Simms participated in a panel discussion moderated by David Eaton.

Learn more about the SBDC’s Small Business Friendly Local Governments initiative and Small Business Friendly Approvals Program, which partner with local governments throughout WA to help local business communities thrive.

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Photo of guests networking at the Small Business Friendly Milestone Event.
Guests enjoyed networking to share their learnings at the event.
SBDC news
04 November 2021