Driving to support local businesses

03 Feb 2016 Cobram Courier, Cobram VIC (General News) Small business operators in Cobram will be able to access free mentoring, support and government business services when the Small Business Bus visits in February. Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes said the small business bus will visit Cobram, Numurkah, Nathalia, Glenrowan, Daylesford, Trentham and Yarrawonga. The Victorian state government last year doubled its mobile support for small business, with a second Small Business Bus delivering valuable advice to towns and suburbs across country Victoria. The bus service provides advice from small business mentoring specialists skilled in marketing, finance, human resources and sales. These experts have extensive experience in operating a small business and in senior business management roles, offering free advice to local businesses. In 2015, almost 1500 small businesses accessed free onboard mentoring, while a further 5800 received assistance from an information officer. This represents a 52 per cent increase on the previous year in the uptake of mentoring sessions and a rise of 93 per cent in the number of businesses engaging with the service. There are more than 532 000 small businesses in Victoria, representing over 97 per cent of the states businesses, and more than 28 per cent of those are based in country Victoria. Ms Symes said this years enhanced touring program will take more information and services to more towns across the state than ever before, benefiting businesses that may not have the time or resources to otherwise access the available support. Small businesses are not only the backbone of the Victorian economy, but are the lifeblood of many small towns in country Victoria and the Andrews Labor Government is committed to providing them with ongoing business support services, encouraging them to grow and create more local jobs, Ms Symes said. The Small Business Bus is a great service for local businesses to have access to expert faceto-face advice. These support services play an important part in Labors commitment to providing country Victorians with greater access to government help and driving ideas and growth within the community. The business buses also play a vital role in providing business recovery support to communities in times of crisis, such as those affected by bushfires. The increased capacity of the program now enables greater flexibility and faster response times when assistance is required. Caption Text: Valuable advice: The Small Business Bus previously set up in Cobram waiting to help the local businesses out. Copyright Agency licensed copy (www.copyright.com.au)