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Local dance school emerges from pandemic stronger

Ipswich dance studio, NY Dance, was forced to close during the coronavirus restrictions last year.

With the support of the dance community and some economic assistance from Ipswich City Council, the school is back bigger than before.

NY Dance owner Natalie Yates was forced to close the doors in March last year for term two because of coronavirus restrictions.

“I was pretty low, it was a weird time and most people I spoke to during that period felt the same way,” Mrs Yates said.

“The only thing I was certain of, is that I had a good business with good structure and systems in place and I had a solid customer base and I knew my families would stand behind me.

“Like everyone else, we lost a lot of money during that time but when I got the money from the (ICC small business funding) grant, I used it to help offset the cost of an advertising campaign.”

Mrs Yates said the campaign worked as she has recently expanded her studio and she now has more dancers on her books than she did before COVID shut her down.

“I am passionate about dancing and sharing that with my students but also I have worked hard to create an extended family kind of atmosphere here,” she said.

“We are a non-competition school and we welcome everyone in the community, all ages and abilities, to learn in an environment that is a safe place to learn, make mistakes and grow.”

Mrs Yates said she had plenty of support from her family, her landlord and customers and was grateful for the opportunity to be able to apply for a grant.

“What I learned was that through adversity it created opportunities for me and forced me to question what it is I needed to do to keep my business alive. I took baby steps and did what I had to do to get through.”

The Ipswich City Council Small Business Funding Program was developed as part of the broader range of initiatives implemented by Ipswich City Council to support Ipswich-based small businesses through the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding said small businesses are at the centre of the Ipswich community.

“There are over 10,000 registered businesses in Ipswich. In 2018 approximately five million people worked for small businesses across Australia, representing 44 per cent of relevant private-sector employment.

“Local enterprise brings so much vibrancy and prosperity to Ipswich, between essential goods and services, wonderful experiences and livelihoods for thousands of families.

“For our Small Business Friendly Council, the Small Business Funding Program was essential to ensuring local businesses in need are supported during the coronavirus restrictions,” Mayor Harding said.

Deputy Mayor and Chair of the Economic and Industry Development Committee Councillor Nicole Jonic said small businesses are vital to our region, creating local jobs and providing more personalised customer experiences.

“This unique economic response from council ensured small businesses had access to funding when they needed it most, during the pandemic,” Cr Jonic said.

“Having additional funding available helped many local businesses withstand the devastating impacts of the pandemic at a time when every dollar counted.”

The first two rounds of the funding program supported 99 local small business owners cover important inventory costs, replenish stock, professional services such as accountancy or marketing and memberships.

Individual grants of up to $1000 in quick response cash payments were available totalling $90,954.95.

When another lock-down was imposed in the lead up to Easter, the range of eligible expenses that could be covered for round three was increased to $2,000.

On the completion of all three rounds, approximately $250,000 of economic support will be distributed local small businesses.

Ipswich City Council is helping connect small businesses with each other, information and events this month as part of Queensland Small Business Month.

The months’ long activities will culminate with the first 2021 Ipswich Business Expo to be held over two days on Friday 28 and Saturday 29 May inside the Trade Hall, Ipswich Showgrounds.

Tickets to the seminars and workshops can be purchased via these links:

For more information visit www.businessexpoipswich.com.au

Find the full list of events for Queensland Small Business Month, click here.

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