Will the right location give your small business the edge?

Tuesday, 8 August, 2017 - 10:44

According to the recent Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre report entitled “The Engine Room for Growth? - The Role, Performance and Future Prospects of Small Business in Western Australia”, small business accounts for 97 per cent of all businesses in the State, has a value added contribution of $39.7 billion, and accounts for 41 per cent (512,000 persons) of WA’s overall employment. 

The report also states that if the small business sector in WA was considered as an industry in its own right, it would rank second only to mining ($64.375billion) in terms of Industry Gross Value Added. Therefore it is clear that the small business sector is critical to the State’s economy.

The Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre found that small business owners report that a lack of knowledge on the availability of government funding and support is by far the largest gap in assisting business growth. Also, when asked to identify their main sources of competitive advantage, small business owners point to location as one of the key features.

So, what can local government do to assist small businesses? They can work towards making the location of the commercial centres more attractive to customers and businesses and make sure that the business community is aware of the available support programs and initiatives.

The Joondalup City Centre, through careful long term planning and infrastructure delivery, has grown to accommodate Perth’s largest shopping centre, a major hospital, Edith Cowan University, North Metropolitan TAFE, WA Police Academy, a public transport hub, sturdy office and industrial property fed employment bases and the largest apartment market in the northern suburbs. This diversity of property uses has given Joondalup a competitive advantage over other centres which will fuel future growth over the coming decades.

The City recently endorsed a new Joondalup Activity Centre Plan that is now with the WA Planning Commission for approval. The plan seeks to grow employment in the Joondalup City Centre from around 17,000 employees in 2015 to 45,000 by 2050.The Joondalup Activity Centre Plan covers an area of over 440 hectares compared with the Perth CBD at 483 hectares, so there is land capacity to achieve this goal.

A recent report by Damian Stone of Y-Research shone the spotlight on Perth activity centres to assess the diversity of property uses in each. Of the 24 activity centres assessed, Joondalup came out on top with a score of 90 out of 100 on the Activity Centres Diversity Index. The Joondalup City Centre is well placed to build on this success and remains a compelling opportunity for new businesses to locate given the anticipated growth over the next 30 years.

In 2016, the Small Business Development Corporation (SBDC) launched the Small Business Friendly Local Governments initiative. The programme recognises and supports local government authorities in Western Australia that are committed to actively assisting small businesses in their local area.

Through its work supporting the small business community, the City of Joondalup has been recognised by the SBDC as meeting the requirements to be a Small Business Friendly local government.

Some of the business support programs and services available in the City of Joondalup include:

  • The City’s Innovation Fund to support qualifying businesses in developing new commercial opportunities with grants of up to $20,000;
  • Provision of a comprehensive suite of current small business information on the City’s website;
  • Support and promotion of the sixty27  co-working space  at North Metro TAFE and the Edith Cowan University Business Innovation Centre  (ECUBIC);
  • THE LINK website (www.thelink.space) which was developed in collaboration with Edith Cowan University to assist small businesses in becoming more innovative and to help them connect with researchers;
  • Delivery of the Supplier Development Program, a series of free workshops to assist local businesses in understanding the City’s quoting and tendering systems;
  • Regular promotion of available government business support services including the Business Local program and Australian Small Business Advisory Services, both delivered by Business Station at ECUBIC in Joondalup;
  • Facilitation of small business events including two Business Forums per annum and regular business skills workshops in collaboration with partner organisations;
  • Regular communication with small businesses on relevant matters through the City’s E-News  and Business Edge publication; and
  • A dedicated Economic Development team to assist businesses through provision of advice on a range of issues such as approvals, available commercial premises, regulations, policies and compliance.

Most successful small businesses will rarely need assistance from local government, however, when assistance is required, businesses will expect quick responses and excellent customer service. This is what the City aims to provide to its local business community and for new businesses looking to locate within the area.

The City provides a wide range of commercial locations and enables a substantial number of support mechanisms to help businesses prosper, ensuring that Joondalup has the Small Business Edge.