At the Small Business Development Corporation (SBDC), we have a range of initiatives to support the establishment and growth of small businesses in your local government area.
The SBDC was created in 1984, and since then we have established strong relationships across the state, helping to develop and grow the small business sector. Most of the services we deliver are free, including our initiatives that partner with local governments to support small businesses in their area.
Launched in August 2016, our Small Business Friendly Local Governments (SBFLG) program acknowledges better practice local governments that are actively supporting their small business community. It also encourages other local governments to provide similar support for the benefit of their local economies.
Local government chief executive officers and mayors sign the SBFLG charter to publicly demonstrate their pledge to being small business friendly. It also articulates the specific commitments local governments will make to their local small business community. These include improving communication and consultation with small business stakeholders, paying small business suppliers on time, and having a simple dispute resolution process in place. Local governments must also implement three initiatives of their choosing to improve the operating environment for small businesses in their area.
We are delighted that 42 metropolitan and regional local governments are participating in the SBFLG program. This means that almost two-thirds of all small businesses in WA are operating within a ‘small business friendly’ local government area.
Building on the foundation of the SBFLG initiative, our Small Business Friendly Approvals project works collaboratively with individual local governments to help them to fast track approvals process reforms. The cities of Canning and Stirling were selected to participate in the pilot due to the large number of small businesses within their boundaries, the size of their local economies and the cities’ active participation in the SBFLG initiative. Successful projects with the City of Canning included the mapping of the small business customer journey, the identification of opportunities to improve processes and the development of reform opportunities around the themes of:
- better communication,
- smarter technology,
- simpler processes and
- faster turnarounds.
Our work with the City of Stirling helped reduce timeframes for small business owners applying for development applications by up to 30 days. Plans are progressing to extend this pilot to other small business friendly local governments.
In August 2018 we launched the Small Business Friendly (Public Works) Projects initiative. The goal was to minimise the effect that construction and maintenance work undertaken by state and local government has on small businesses adjacent to construction sites.
Government infrastructure and works projects deliver long-term benefits to the community. However, during the construction phase they can have damaging impacts on neighbouring small businesses, including loss in turnover, reduction in custom and disruption to deliveries.
This initiative developed best practice guidelines and tools to assist local governments to engage with affected businesses before construction starts, to better understand and therefore mitigate these detrimental impacts. Separate guidance material was also developed to assist small business operators.
In addition, the SBDC collaborated with local governments to facilitate a place-making workshop held in October 2019, and to develop the Small Change advertising campaign to raise awareness of small business, which is essential to the services, jobs and vibrancy of every community.
As the State Government agency dedicated to supporting the small business sector, we’ve been working hard for more than 35 years to provide relevant services to WA’s small business operators, and more recently, partnering with local governments to support their business community.
Turn to us for free, practical advice on how we can help small business in your local community.
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