Fifty local businesses in the Illawarra region will receive expert, one-on-one coaching to help them identify opportunities for growth and the creation of new jobs. This is thanks to a $98,000 Gillard Labor Government Enterprise Connect grant to Regional Development Australia (RDA) Illawarra.
Announcing almost $500,000 for seven regional business development programs, Innovation Minister Senator Kim Carr and Regional Development Minister Simon Crean said the funding would help develop strong regional partnerships between businesses, communities, industries, researchers and governments.
“These partnerships will help create jobs and transform firms,” Senator Carr said.
“The funding to RDA Illawarra will help them collaborate with local firms and tertiary institutions to give Wollongong, Shellharbour and Kiama businesses the skills to identify and exploit possible national and global niche markets,” Mr Crean said.
Member for Cunningham Sharon Bird and Member for Throsby Stephen Jones said the diversification into new processes and markets is essential for the local business community which will be hard hit by BlueScope Steel’s recent decision.
In addition to the Illawarra, projects have been funded on the NSW Central Coast, Lithgow, Burnie, Northern Adelaide and North Brisbane (Moreton Bay). They are led by the University of Queensland, Regional Development Australia associations, the Burnie and Lithgow City Councils, Lithgow Campus of the Western Institute of TAFE, the Lithgow Business Association and the Technology Industry Association.
“Each of the projects we’re announcing today combines the expertise and experience of Enterprise Connect’s Innovative Regions Centre and Enterprise Connect’s broader business adviser network with the local knowledge of regional stakeholders,” Senator Carr said.
“The ingenuity and resilience of our business owners and manufacturers is one of Australia’s great strengths.
These grants are an investment in the talents and skills of those charged with managing local businesses.”