Ipswich City Council has launched an $850,000 COVID Recovery Package, which includes an economic stimulus to support local small businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Mayor Teresa Harding said a $200,000 Small Business Funding Program – a measure in council’s 2020-21 Budget package – is part of a broader range of initiatives implemented by council to help businesses in need.
“Never could we have imagined just how quickly COVID-19 would shape our everyday lives or how tough times would be,” Mayor Harding said.
The mayor announced in her budget speech on 30 June that council was committed to assisting Ipswich small businesses and the local economy fight back from the impacts of COVID-19.
The program guidelines set out a competitive funding process, providing a ‘quick response’ cash payment of up to $1,000 per eligible applicant. The businesses have from now until 14 August to apply for assistance.
“We have a moral obligation to ensure those most affected have access to the support they need in these unprecedented times, and our COVID Relief and Recovery Package is an express demonstration of this,” she said.
“We will to continue to waive and refund some fees and charges through to the end of September for businesses and organisations facing extreme hardship at an estimated cost of $250,000.”
Division 2 Councillor Nicole Jonic, a small business owner who works closely with small businesses through her accounting practice described the Small Business Funding Program as a timely boost for Ipswich businesses doing it tough.
”There is no escaping the fact that COVID-19 has hurt the bottom line of small businesses,” Cr Jonic said.
“Providing up to $1,000 quickly to a local small business in need will definitely be of assistance and may be the immediate lifeline that some are calling out for now.”
Division 3 Councillor Andrew Fechner, who runs restaurant and café businesses at Top of Town, said he understood the pain of fellow operators.
“There is no doubt the business and community sector is hurting, and all levels of government must come together to provide vital assistance,” Cr Fechner said.
“We know we cannot afford to have more job losses in our city and this new program will go some way to help small businesses here in Ipswich as they continue to fight back and get back on their feet.”
This Small Business Funding Program, launched by Mayor Harding this week, is a competitive initiative open to for-profit small Ipswich-based businesses.
Funding can be for future expenses (provided these expenses are incurred and acquitted by the business before 30 September 2020) or for reimbursement on applicable items acquired by the business from 1 March 2020.
To be eligible for consideration for the Small Business Funding Program, applications need to meet all compulsory assessment items.
Eligible funding recipients must satisfy the following criteria:
- Is a legal entity and holds a valid Australian Business Number (ABN) as at 1 March 2020
- Is an Ipswich-based for-profit enterprise
- Is a small business which (a) has an annual turnover of less than $1 million and (b) employs less than 20 staff in total, across the business itself and any associated entities
- Is open and recommenced trading at the date of application
- Is not subject to any enforceable undertakings, legal actions or pending closure
- Has experienced a reduction of turnover of 20 per cent or more due to COVID-19
- Applies for the funding as the owner or authorised representative.
Applicants purchasing inventory from Ipswich-based providers will receive a higher weighting in the assessment process, as part of council’s new Buy Ipswich procurement policy.
“The measures in this budget are all about stimulating the local economy, boosting jobs, growth and investment in the region,” Mayor Harding said.
“I encourage local businesses to get in quickly and take advantage of council’s continuing COVID-related financial assistance.”
“We are a resilient community and council will do what we can to help the people of Ipswich overcome the impacts of this devastating global pandemic,” she said.
For further information, go here