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How Ipswich City Council is supporting local businesses to recover from COVID-19

Making sure local businesses have access to the tools, resources and networks they need to recover from COVID-19 will be a key focus for council in the months ahead.

Mayor Teresa Harding said a strong business sector was crucial to the city’s recovery and ongoing success.

“Businesses across Ipswich have done it tough during COVID-19 and there is still a long road ahead, which is why it is more important than ever that we get behind them as a city,” she said.

“Council is committed to supporting local business.

“The support from Ipswich City Council for local businesses will continue as we work together to recover from COVID-19.”

As the COVID-19 pandemic took hold earlier this year, Ipswich City Council ramped up efforts to support businesses facing an uncertain future.

From late March and through April, in conjunction with the region’s chambers of commerce, 25 online Business Resilience programs were held to help businesses develop strategies for cash flow, online trading and resilience.

Throughout May, the focus shifted to small mentoring sessions and online courses based on local business needs.

A concierge service was established by the council’s Office of Economic Development to check in with local businesses to see how they and their staff were coping.

More than 350 businesses were contacted, with the service helping bring businesses together and steer them to important COVID-19 information.

The council’s Destination Development team was also busy supporting the region’s tourism operators, many of which faced a massive drop in trade.

As well as helping tourism operators navigate the various stages of COVID-19 restrictions, campaigns encouraging the community to back local operators were launched.

Discover Ipswich campaigns launched on the back of feedback from businesses included:

  • Promotion of venues to support 2021 wedding planning;
  • Supporting the promotion of businesses that pivoted to offer home delivery/takeaway offerings;
  • Mother’s Day and Easter promotions of gift card experiences for special occasions;
  • Queensland Health was engaged in the city to support use of local hotels in the event isolation rooms were required.

Council also fast-tracked $7.5 million worth of payments to contractors and initiated a seven-day payment cycle; a significant reduction to the normal 30-day billing period for all contractors.

A recent supply chain webinar with the Brisbane Lions focused on how local businesses can support The Reserve sports stadium development.

Last week, council hosted a Defence Sector: Jobs, Capability and Collaboration webinar bringing industry, policy makers and global supply chain participants together to share ideas on how businesses can remain competitive despite the economic crisis.

It was the first of a six-part industry resilience series to roll out in the coming months.

This week, Ipswich City Council is expected to consider a revised procurement policy to significantly strengthen its approach to procuring services from local business and industry.

Also ahead, council’s innovation hub, Fire Station 101, will host a range of face-to-face programs and events.

Fire Station 101 recently partnered with Advancing Regional Innovation Program (Ipswich and West Moreton) to provide $30,000 to help businesses adapt during the pandemic.

Upcoming courses at Fire Station 101 include how to effectively re-engage with customers, creating content to sway your audience and seven critical factors to increase business growth.

Local businesses can keep up to date with the latest offerings via www.firestation101.com.au

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