Retail and hospitality businesses are invited to apply for a free City of Sydney 12-week program to help them adapt to the digital economy in response to Covid-19.
The retail innovation program, developed by early-stage investment group Investible, will offer 20 local businesses mentoring and online training to build a strong business model and accelerate business growth.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the free program will provide vital support and information to businesses and help them recover from the economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Now more than ever our local businesses and community organisations need access to support and services that will help them recover and grow,” The Lord Mayor said.
“Our program has been developed to support our local retail and hospitality businesses, which like many businesses throughout the city, are struggling.
“Sadly, many workers have lost their income as businesses closed. This program is an opportunity to adapt to the current environment and develop skillsets that will enable them to thrive.
“This support is part of our wider $72.5 million package to support the business, community and creative sector through the pandemic. Other elements of this package include rent abatement for tenants in our own buildings, bringing forward capital works to stimulate employment, and donating $1 million to OzHarvest to meet our community’s increased food security needs.
“Investible is a leader in Sydney’s entrepreneurial business landscape and I encourage our local businesses to apply to this informative program.”
Investment group Investible provides high potential business founders the financial, human and intellectual capital needed to scale their vision.
The program is supported by leading industry experts and entrepreneurial specialists, as well as program alumni from previous cohorts. Investible Head of Programs & Partnerships Elisa-Marie Dumas said encouraging a strong sense of community amongst the participants has played a significant role in the program’s success to date.
“The retail innovation program is uniquely designed to help local business owners develop the mindset, access the resources and discover the community they need to make confident decisions in a changing world,” Ms Dumas said.
“It’s been incredible to see how different types of businesses have banded together to get through the current crisis and embrace new opportunities. It demonstrates that, when working together, small businesses have the power to build more resilient and innovative economies.”
More than 35 businesses across all major industries and sectors have taken part in the previous two program cohorts, the most recent of which kicked off in February 2020.
Owners of SOUL Dining in Surry Hills, Illa and Daero Kim, took part in the previous program. They said the knowledge they gained allowed them to adapt to Covid-19 restrictions within a week.
“We knew takeaway was our only option to survive, but our contemporary food couldn’t be experienced in the same way in a takeaway container,” Ms Kim said.
“The retail innovation program provided a framework to help us prioritise our focus. Instead of just shutting down, we redirected our team’s energies and ideas to develop BOWL by SOUL – a fresh take on Korean comfort food.
“The new BOWL by SOUL concept was such a hit that we’re now working to find a separate location for it. It’s quite amazing that through this program, we were able to turn Covid restrictions into a new business opportunity.”